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Who will replace Machado and Hardy in the infield?

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With injuries to Manny Machado and J.J. Hardy -- in the short term, at least, things could get really interesting.

Yup, that's Chris Davis at third base.
Yup, that's Chris Davis at third base.
Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles could be rolling out some really interesting infield deployments in the near term.  Tuesday's rainout could end up being a huge gift for the club, as Manny Machado and J.J. Hardy both battle injuries of unknown severity -- Machado's right knee, injured during a Monday at-bat, and Hardy's thumb, nagging him for a few days now.  The team offered insubstantial non-updates on both Tuesday, continuing to characterize them as "sprains."

If this situation carries through Wednesday -- neither player ready to start, but neither sufficiently injured to place on the DL -- the starting infield is going to be interesting.  Orioles fans will almost certainly be treated to Steve Pearce at first, Jonathan Schoop at second, Ryan Flaherty at shortstop and Chris Davis at third base.  More concerning -- even more concerning than Chris Davis and his career -41 DRS at the hot corner -- the team would have absolutely no infield depth, aside from Nick Markakis or Caleb Joseph's ability to move to first base in a pinch.

If Hardy and Machado are both unable to start, the team may be left with no choice but to DL one of them (Machado presumably the more likely candidate) to bring up Cord Phelps (the current rumor), Steve Lombardozzi or Alexi Casilla (Jemile Weeks remains on the minor-league disabled list) -- or else play at the non-zero risk of having a career outfielder pick up a position they haven't played since college in an emergency.

Of course, crazy defensive arrangements are second only to position players pitching in the pantheon of goofy stuff that baseball fans live for.  Anyone else remember that Mark Reynolds actually played a couple games at second base for the Yankees last year?  Maybe the Orioles will embrace the risk of pure insanity, in exchange for not missing out on 15 days of a valuable starting position player.

This is probably unlikely, but it's fun to think about in a not-actually-fun kind of way for a team in the driver's seat for a division win.  In reality, the Orioles will probably be forced to DL Machado and make a call-up if they think that he and Hardy are both likely to be out for anything more than a single game.

These are the times that try GMs' souls.  Get ready for some interesting decision-making this afternoon!