A few more minutes with Cal Ripken

I’m pretty sure you’ll find Nolan Reimold in the lineup tonight against Kansas City’s Jeff Francis. Reimold is 3-for-3 with two home runs against him.

Count on it.

Mark Reynolds is 10-for-25 with two doubles against Francis. Adam Jones is 3-for-5.

J.J. Hardy is 3-for-12 with two doubles. He could use a few hits tonight.

Hardy is in a 2-for-24 slump. It’s also a 5-for-33 slump and a 7-for-42 slump. Depends how far back you choose to go.

I asked Cal Ripken yesterday whether Hardy reminds him of former teammate Mike Bordick. A few readers here have made the comparison.

“Bordy was an excellent defender and he was more of a running-type shortstop,” Ripken said. “Both are very reliable, both very heady players. I saw J.J. when he was with Milwaukee when they made the playoffs a few years ago. When I watch a shortstop, I watch for the little things. Do they have the right coverage - hit-and-runs, cut-offs, positioning? Every time I look up, J.J. is in the right spot. I’m thinking, ‘Here’s a guy who shows that he really thinks about situations and plays before they happen.’ He’s not reacting to when the ball is hit. He just knows what’s going to happen because he’s prepared. He does all the little things. To me, he just seems to be a heady shortstop, and his skills over his career have been undervalued. He has a good arm, good action, and he makes all the plays and makes it look easy. That’s my impression.

“You could close your eyes and say the same thing about Bordy. When he came over, he didn’t posses the same strength in his arm as J.J., but he learned how to use his legs and utilize them. He had a slightly different style, but the results were certainly the same.”

I jokingly asked Ripken whether he would have moved to third base for Hardy, as he did for Bordick. He laughed and then pointed out that he would have moved for anyone. He never refused a manager’s orders. It’s just that it didn’t “work out” with a few other shortstops. And yes, he mentioned Manny Alexander and Juan Bell.

It worked out fine with Bordick. And I’m sure Ripken would have enjoyed sharing the left side of the infield with Hardy.

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