The news is in on J.J. Hardy's foot, and as expected, it is not good news. MASN's Roch Kubatko reported on Monday afternoon that Hardy suffered a hairline fracture when he fouled a ball off of his left foot in Sunday's loss to the White Sox.
Hardy's expected recovery, depending on which beat writer you ask, is either four to six weeks or six to eight weeks.
It's an unfortunate fluke development for the Orioles. There's nothing they could have done to stop it and there's nothing they can do to make it better now. As manager Buck Showalter is fond of saying, nobody is going to feel sorry for them. They'll have to carry on without him until potentially around the All-Star Break.
The immediate replacement for Hardy is expected to be Ryan Flaherty, says MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli. Although the O's have a natural shortstop and well-regarded defender in the minors in Paul Janish, he's not getting called up right away because he's going to go on paternity leave on Wednesday. Babies arrive on their own schedule.
A general impression from the O's beat corps is that Janish will get his call-up after his paternity leave is over. The Orioles have been playing with a short bench for a while now, which is something they should and apparently will rectify. So Janish might get his chance in time for the start of the Athletics series on Friday.
The Orioles would need to make room on both the 25- and 40-man rosters to add Janish. Unless there's another injury to contend with, I'd guess T.J. McFarland will get optioned. As for the 40-man move, there's always some dead weight on the fringes. Someone you probably won't miss could be sent to the great DFA in the sky.
What happens in Hardy's absence in the field? Until Janish arrives, I wouldn't be surprised to see Manny Machado playing shortstop and a variety of weird third base choices.
Once Janish is on the roster, maybe they'll go back to something more ordinary with Machado at third base with Janish taking Hardy's place at short. Or that's what I'd guess, but remember that I know even less than Jon Snow.
Baltimore Baseball's Dan Connolly offers the assumption that Machado will be getting most of the looks at shortstop. I find the idea that both Flaherty and Janish are essential with Machado set to play at shortstop a lot to be dubious. If Machado is the shortstop, you don't need both of those other guys hanging around. Machado is freshly minted as the AL Player of the Month, by the way.
Anyway, they'll do what they think is best and hopefully that turns out to work out for the best. If Machado gets to take things to the next level by becoming an awesome shortstop who's OPSing over 1.000, well, there are worse outcomes.