J.J. Hardy leaves Saturday’s game with strained left oblique

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Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy has been dealing with discomfort in the left side of his body for a couple of days now. On Saturday, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, he was finally diagnosed with a strained left oblique.

Recovery times tend to differ for oblique strains, but it’s a near certainty that the Orioles will place Hardy on the 15-day disabled list so that they can free up a roster spot and bring in some depth.

Hardy made just one at-bat in Saturday’s game against the Rangers before he was lifted for Robert Andino. Cesar Izturis is likely to split time at shortstop with Andino while Hardy is out.

Hardy, 28, is batting .200 with a .294 on-base percentage over his first 17 plate appearances in an Orioles uniform.

UPDATE: According to MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli, the O’s are worried that Hardy could miss six weeks.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.