After playing the last two games with a painful ingrown finger nail on the middle finger of his throwing hand, Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy had it removed after Wednesday's game. It got so bad that he admits he wasn't sure he could make accurate throws during that game with Toronto and he had to adjust how he fielded the ball.
"It was tough," Hardy said. "I went in to see if I could throw in the batting cage (before that game) and I was throwing it in the top of the net and all over the place. Was worried it would affect the team if I was out there. Just said you know what, I'm not going to not play because of an ingrown finger nail, as bad as this hurts, I'll play.
"I was kind of charging the ball more to get closer to first base, so I wouldn't have to make long throws. I wasn't throwing it nearly as hard. Kind of throwing changeups to Mark (Reynolds at first base). That one backhand I had where I had to throw it hard, my finger started bleeding after that because the nail dug in."
Hardy said he had been feeling pain in the finger for a few days and games.
"I felt it, yes and then we started working on it and that actually irritated it more. Then the last two games were really painful."
It even impacted how he held the bat at the plate.
"I was holding the bat different, kind of deeper in the palm of my hand versus in my fingers where I normally hold it. Who knows, maybe that helped me," he said with a laugh.
But now that he has had the nail removed he feels he is about back to normal.
"It's good now, way better than it was the last couple nights. My middle finger was really, really tender. After I got it out it feels much better."
After the seven homers and the win Wednesday night the Orioles have to be feeling better too and now they are just one game back of New York with six to play. Hardy said the Orioles seem to be handling the big game atmosphere quite well.
"Really good, really good. You know, the advice that everyone always gives in a situation like this is enjoy it, enjoy this time and it really seems like everyone is," Hardy said. "I think that's a good attitude to take into these last six games.
"You don't want to get tense or think too much. All these guys have done a really good job of just worrying about themselves and this team and not what everyone else is doing. I think this team has handled that really good."