J.J. Hardy's days of mixed league relevancy are a thing of the past. The power he hit with in the earlier part of this decade is gone, stolen by Father Time. The durability he had at that same time is also gone, taken by the same man. 34 years old is old for shortstop, but unlike others in recent years, Hardy has not lost much defensively at all. That is why he is still in the lineup when he is healthy because his glove deserves to be out there and the groundball pitchers on his team appreciate it. The issue for our purposes is that despite all that, Hardy is a bottom of the lineup hitter that no longer runs, no longer hits with power and does not drive many runners in. You can't even count on his average, but you can almost guarantee that he won't hit over .270 because he has not done so in eight seasons.
Hardy's tests on his back came back clean, according to manager Buck Showalter, and he could be able to play in exhibition games by March 10, Roch Kubatko of MASN reports. The veteran underwent an MRI and a CT scan this week after starting to experience some back discomfort in late January. Fortunately, the tests didn't reveal anything worrisome, so Hardy will likely rest for the time being before resuming baseball activities later in spring training.
Hardy has undergone an MRI and CT scan on his back and has one more test coming, but he's not concerned with the injury, Rich Dubroff of PressBoxonline.com reports. Hardy said the pain started on Jan. 27, around the time of the Orioles' FanFest convention. The shortstop is aiming to be ready for baseball activities on March 1 so he can be ready for Opening Day. AL-only players should keep tabs on Hardy's progress before considering him as a midrange shortstop.
Hardy received an MRI on his back and will undergo more tests Friday, Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com reports. This explains Hardy's absence from workouts since the O's began camp. Various injuries have contributed to him missing 95 games over the last two seasons, and his latest setback is worth watching. If he were to miss extended time again this year, Manny Machado may preserve shortstop eligibility for 2018 fantasy leagues.
Hardy went 3-for-4 with an RBI infield single and run in Friday's 5-4 victory over the Rays. The 34-year-old shortstop has been on a tear, with Friday's production bringing his September line to .370/.442/.565. His eighth-inning infield single was crucial as well, as it plated Jonathan Schoop to tie the game at 4-4 at the time. Hardy has multi-hit efforts in four of his last seven games, and has hit safely in six of those contests overall. He's also already exceeded his August RBI total of 10 in just 14 September games.
Hardy went 1-for-2 with two walks and a three-run homer in Tuesday's game against the Red Sox. Hardy's second-inning blast over the Green Monster was his ninth of the season, and his first since Aug. 29. The 34-year-old veteran struggled to a .211 average in August, but appears to have figured things out in September. Through 11 games this month, Hardy is 11-for-36 (.306) with six extra-base hits, seven RBI and five runs.