Hardy disappointed that Reynolds is leaving

Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy lost one of his favorite teammates and card players.

Hardy was hoping that the Orioles would re-sign Mark Reynolds, who agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Cleveland Indians,

“I’ve still got (Matt) Wieters next to me, but he only played because Reynolds forced us to play, and then (Nick) Markakis was also in there,” Hardy said earlier today at the annual OriolesREACH Holiday Party at Dave & Busters at Arundel Mills Mall. “I don’t know. We’ll see. We’ll get it worked out.

“I’ve got a pretty good idea who’s good enough to be in our group. It’s a small group of people in our clubhouse who can play in our game.”

Reynolds is no longer one of them.

“He wanted to come back,” Hardy said. “The thing is, I think he would have signed for less money to come back here. It will be interesting to see what happens. I think we’ll all miss him, for sure.

“I’ve talked to him, not as much since he signed with them, but I was talking to him a lot before that. There were a lot of teams showing interest in him. And I still thought there was a chance we’d get him back.”

Hardy said he hasn’t been keeping close track of the Orioles’ limited offseason moves, which include re-signing outfielder Nate McLouth.

“I’m not on the Internet every day looking, but I did see that and I’m seeing the other stuff that’s going on in our division,” he said.

“Obviously, it was a good group last year that did some pretty good things. We always look to improve, and if not improve, then stay the same. I feel like we’re right on track.”

Expectations figure to be raised after the Orioles finished above .500 and made the playoffs for the first time in 15 years.

“I think there will be some expectations, but we had expectations for ourselves last spring training,” Hardy said. “We were able to stay focused and do what we wanted to do. I think that we always have expectations as a group in the clubhouse. We all feel like we should be good and we hold ourselves to high standards.”

The offseason is speeding along for Hardy, who began working out Dec. 1.

“It feels like it’s been maybe three weeks,” he said. “It really has been the quickest offseason for me. But I don’t know what that means. Maybe it’s a good thing.”

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