Last week the Orioles seemed optimistic that J.J. Hardy’s back spasms would be a minor issue, but tonight the shortstop will be out of the lineup for the sixth consecutive game.
Hardy feels good enough that he told reporters he hopes to play Saturday, but the Orioles are reaching the point where a disabled list stint makes more sense if he can’t rejoin the lineup then.
Hardy had a lot of injuries early in his career, but he played 159 games last season and 158 games in 2012. In his absence Ryan Flaherty has slid over from third base to shortstop, with Jonathan Schoop taking over at third base.
There were a few exhibitions against college teams yesterday but today the Grapefruit League and Cactus League schedules begin in earnest, with big league teams, more or less, facing big league team, more or less.
The baseball will look like baseball, but the teams will be wearing different caps today: black caps with the maroon “SD” of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting on February 14.
All teams and umpire crews will wear the caps pre-game, and they have the option to wear the caps during the games. The only two teams not playing today — the Royals and Rangers — will wear them tomorrow.
After the games players will sign the caps and they will be auctioned off to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which benefits the official Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund.
Here’s today’s schedule: