J.J. Hardy is expected to miss 2-3 weeks after an MRI exam revealed a strained oblique muscle, which qualifies as good news considering the initial reports that he could miss six weeks. However, because oblique strains tend to linger 2-3 weeks is hardly a guaranteed return timetable.
Hardy played well for Minnesota last season, hitting .268 with a .714 OPS and his usual excellent defense at shortstop, but the Twins traded him to the Orioles in large part because he missed 61 games with injuries and was often scratched from the lineup even when not on the disabled list.
He lasted just six games before heading to the shelf in Baltimore, and while Hardy was plenty durable for the Brewers in 2007 and 2008 he’s definitely acquired the “injury prone” label at this point. An impending free agent earning $5.85 million this season, Hardy will be replaced in the lineup with fellow elite defender Cesar Izturis.
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.
The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.
Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.
Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.
Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.
Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.