Abandon all hope. Everything is terrible again. J.J. Hardy is the latest Oriole who looks like he will be starting out the season on the disabled list. Hardy suffered a minor injury to his shoulder in a collision in Wednesday's game and O's manager Buck Showalter conceded to reporters on Monday afternoon that Opening Day could be ruled out for Hardy.
Showalter also told reporters that he isn't worried, but who's counting? Any time missed by one of the O's key up-the-middle defenders is significant for the team. Hardy has won three straight Gold Gloves at shortstop and he's deserved them. Whoever replaces him will not be a three-time Gold Glover.
The reason why Showalter said he wasn't worried is that in his estimation, the return of a MRA that didn't indicate any necessity for surgery is a good thing. Well, when you put it that way, it does seem better.
The official diagnosis of the injury is a subscapularis strain. Hopefully that's not as painful as it sounds. He'll be on the shelf from baseball activities for ten days.
If Hardy has to go on the disabled list, he would be eligible to return on April 11. That's the soonest that a club can activate a player after the season starts. If he's really able to play then, rather than this turning into some kind of lingering mess of an injury, then he'd only miss four games.
That's not so bad, right? The O's can live without Hardy for four games. They lived without him in 21 games last season, since he played in 141 games and missed the rest. That didn't hurt the Orioles. This way he's just getting a few of those rest games clumped in at the beginning.
Hardy also missed a week in April last year, but it didn't cause as much panic because he was just quietly out for a week after the season started rather than opening up on the DL. Better to have him start the season healthy but a few days late than try to play through some pain and aggravate it into something worse that causes him to miss more time.