At long last, J.J. Hardy is back in the Orioles lineup. He'll make his 2015 debut at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, playing shortstop and batting seventh. The corresponding roster move was not announced along with the initial lineup, though the lineup card that the beat writers photographed was not missing any position player names.
Does that mean they just haven't picked which position player to option yet, or does it mean they are going to go ahead with the 11-man pitching staff that was mentioned over the last couple of days? If they're optioning a position player, you have to figure either Rey Navarro or last night's TOOTBLAN champion will be getting sent to Norfolk.
Navarro seems more likely since the Orioles are having the likes of Steve Pearce and Jimmy Paredes play second base in the absence of Jonathan Schoop. Pearce is once again playing second base for the Orioles on Thursday night.
If they end up optioning a pitcher, well, Kevin Gausman is pretty much the only choice there. Prepare for possible disappointment. There's the outside chance they might return Jason Garcia to the Red Sox, also.
We'll know within the next couple of hours. The Orioles tend to like to wait as long as they can to announce someone is coming off of the disabled list, just on the outside chance there ends up being some kind of rain postponement or other shenanigans that would relieve them of the need to make a roster move until the next day. Plus someone might hurt himself in batting practice. You never know. That sounds more sinister than I meant it to.