You remember Hardy, right?
He only batted once in that April 9 game before leaving with a strained left oblique. He hasn’t gotten three at-bats against major league pitching since April 6.
Hardy might be the most valuable .200 hitter in baseball.
The Orioles haven’t been quite right since he disappeared, though his absence opened the door for Robert Andino, who made a nice impression at the plate and in the field. Hardy’s average won’t win him any bragging rights, but all three hits are doubles, he’s driven in two runs, he’s walked twice and he’s scored four runs.
He kept getting on base, and it seemed like Brian Roberts kept driving him in.
Hardy is 5-for-26 in eight career games against the Mariners, who make their only stop at Camden Yards this week. It doesn’t matter. He’ll play shortstop and, I assume, bat ninth.
Andino, by the way, is in a 2-for-19 slump that’s lowered his average from .348 to .277.
Hardy might not be the only change in the lineup. Maybe this is the night that Derrek Lee drops out of the third slot, though he’s homered in three of the last seven games. But who would take his place?
I’ve heard fans suggest that Adam Jones should move up to second and Nick Markakis should bat third - the same Markakis who’s been blasted for his slow start. But change is necessary sometimes just to present a different look, just to shake things up.
Mark Reynolds is hitting .187. I don’t think he’s moving up that high.
The lineup might be the most anticipated entry that I file today.
As for the corresponding roster move when Hardy is activated, the Orioles are expected to go back to 12 pitchers and four reserves today. Is Clay Rapada headed back to Triple-A Norfolk?
The Orioles could have optioned Chris Tillman, since they didn’t need a fifth starter after yesterday’s off day, but manager Buck Showalter told reporters Sunday that he’d probably keep his starters on their regular turns. That meant Jake Arrieta tonight, Tillman tomorrow and Zach Britton on Thursday.