Random thoughts

Let’s start with J.J. Hardy.

The Orioles shortstop is day-to-day with soreness on his left side. That’s dangerously close to an oblique injury, which Hardy experienced in April 2011. He missed a month. He’s having flashbacks.

Center fielder Adam Jones returned last night from a sprained ankle, and Hardy unexpectedly left the lineup. This team simply can’t get healthy.

Whatever lineup you envisioned over the winter hasn’t appeared this season. Not for one game.

schoop-orange-looking-in-distance-sidebar.pngIs Jonathan Schoop anywhere close to going on an injury rehab assignment? I’ll answer my own question: No, and there are some concerns within the organization that he needs to slow down his baseball activities.

Schoop doesn’t need knee surgery at this point, but one setback could cost him the rest of this season and part of the next one.

Matt Wieters will play in his first game Thursday or Friday. Remember when we were speculating over the winter and in spring training whether he’d be ready on opening day? It seems so foolish now.

Wesley Wright has made two appearances with the Orioles after signing as a free agent. I almost forgot about Rule 5 pick Jason Garcia until asking for an update a few days ago.

Garcia is progressing nicely. That’s all we know. He’s not pitching in extended spring training games. He’s just ... progressing.

If I still had my storage unit, I’d drag out all the boxes and old furniture and check whether he’s stashed against the back wall.

The Orioles haven’t won since Hardy’s walk-off single on Friday. Now he’s hurt. They’re four games below .500 to tie their season high and they’re counting on rookie Mike Wright to be the stopper.

He probably won’t succeed without run support. Going out on a limb here.

The Orioles are 1-18 when scoring two runs or fewer. Manager Buck Showalter mentioned the lack of scoring last night when asked about removing Ubaldo Jimenez after six innings and 91 pitches.

What can be done? Well, there are options at Triple-A involving players who don’t have options, but room must be created for them. In the case of outfielder Nolan Reimold, the Orioles can’t fret over the possibility of losing him on a waiver claim if they attempt to send him back down. If they think he can help, make a move.

They could have used another right-handed bat last night against Astros left-hander Brett Oberholtzer. A hot bat? All the better.

Going back to Showalter’s decision to remove Jimenez, the right-hander clearly was miffed, but he’s such a nice guy that he hid it during his postgame interview with MASN’s Gary Thorne. I’d still like to draw a cartoon bubble over his head.

As I wrote last night, reliever Brad Brach had gone 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA and a save in 20 innings over his last 14 appearances since April 15. I thought Showalter had a quick hook with Jimenez, but he went with a hot hand.

It didn’t work out. I’d immediately replace the crystal ball in the dugout.

Brach allowed two runs and three hits, and walked two batters, in two-thirds of an inning to take the loss. He’s 10-2 in two seasons with the Orioles.

They should be so lucky to take 10-of-12.

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