A magnetic resonance imaging taken Monday on J.J. Hardy revealed a left oblique strain, an injury that will likely sideline the Orioles shortstop for two to three weeks.
"It's hard to lose a player and characterize it as good news," Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said. "With the nature of this injury, nobody knows for certain what the duration is going to be, but certainly the news could have been worse."
Hardy sat out two games last week with tightness in his left ribcage area. He returned to the lineup for the second game of Saturday's doubleheader against the Texas Rangers and felt something "grab" on him while fouling off a pitch from Matt Harrison in the second inning.
Hardy did not swing the rest of the at-bat, which resulted in a strikeout, and was removed from the game before the third inning.
He'll join teammate Brian Matusz in starting a rehabilitation program at the organization's spring training facilities in Sarasota, Fla. MacPhail said the club will be patient with Hardy because this type of injury tends to linger, creating a situation in which a player could miss a month or more.
"If you're not [patient], all the time you invested in the recovery goes for naught," MacPhail said.
Manager Buck Showalter said both Cesar Izturis and Robert Andino will get opportunities to start at shortstop in Hardy's absence. The Orioles also have the option of summoning a veteran middle infielder, like Brendan Harris or Nick Green, from the minors, but at this point, it appears that they'll go with a 13-man pitching staff and one fewer position player.
Bergesen likely for Wednesday
Hardy's trip to the disabled list — a move that will become official Tuesday or Wednesday — will allow the Orioles to recall Brad Bergesen, who is in line to make Wednesday's start against the New York Yankees. Bergesen was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on Saturday to make room for Chris Jakubauskas, but he doesn't have to stay in the minors for the required 10 days because he would be filling the roster spot of a player going to the DL.
In his only start this season, Bergesen allowed four runs (two earned), five hits and two walks in 32/3 innings of a loss Wednesday to the Detroit Tigers.
It was his first extended start against big league hitters in 21/2 weeks. Bergesen was nailed in the forearm by a come-backer off the bat of the Minnesota Twins' Denard Span on March 25, his final Grapefruit League outing lasting just four pitches. Upon sending him down Saturday, Showalter stressed the need for Bergesen to start logging some innings to "get his feet back on the ground."
The Orioles hoped to have him make a couple of starts for the Tides, but Saturday's doubleheader and an unwillingness to pitch Jake Arrieta or Zach Britton on short rest prompted the need for another starter to come up. It's still possible Jakubauskas starts Wednesday. However, it is more likely that he stays in the bullpen and Bergesen gets the nod.
Chris Tillman and Arrieta are the scheduled starters against the Yankees Tuesday and Thursday, respectively, with Britton, Jeremy Guthrie and Tillman in line to pitch over the weekend in Cleveland.
Around the horn
Top prospect Manny Machado is off to a good start for Single-A Delmarva, going 7-for-15 (.467) with two doubles, a triple, three RBIs, seven walks and a stolen base in five games, including the Shorebirds' home opener Monday night. … Right-hander Dan Klein, the Orioles' fifth-best prospect according to Baseball America, made his debut for Single-A Frederick on Sunday and allowed one earned run; two hits, including a homer; and a walk while striking out two over two innings. … Orioles leadoff man Brian Roberts is an 0-for-13 slump, but he's a career .300 hitter (15-for-50) with three homers and 10 RBIs against A.J. Burnett, who starts Tuesday for the Yankees. … Starting Tuesday, the Orioles will play 26 games in 27 days with the lone day off April 25.