Hardy’s Injury Could Slow Orioles Momentum

Steve O Speak

The Orioles will find out just how long they will be without their newly acquired SS J.J. Hardy today, after he suffered an oblique injury on Saturday. Initial reports say he could be out up to 6 weeks, which would be a body blow to the Orioles early season run.

While Hardy hadn’t yet produced much at the plate, he has shown very good defense through the first week and a half of the season. Hardy came in advertised as a top defensive SS, and he hasn’t disappointed. While the Orioles’ back up, Cesar Izturis is a good defensive short stop in his right, he’s not as good as Hardy. While the difference might not be noticeable over a game or even a week, it will become an issue over a month and a half time period.

Although right now there doesn’t seem to be much difference in the offensive production of Hardy and Izturis, there definitely will be over an extended period of time. Despite having only 3 hits in 15 at bats, Hardy was driving the ball, as all three hits were doubles. Hardy won’t have a .300 average, but he will add a good bit of HR’s and doubles from the SS position, something that Izturis simply isn’t capable of doing.

It might not be the end of the world for the Orioles if Hardy misses a month or more, but it will put a lot more pressure on the rest of the team to begin to produce. The Orioles bats have yet to come alive this season, so it is impressive to jump out to a 6-3 start, but if they want to continue on the path that they are on, they need to produce offensively. With Hardy out of the picture it will make it a little bit more difficult. Izturis will also need to do his best to cover the short stop position faithfully, as a big part of the Orioles early season success has been their stellar infield defense.

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