The Orioles and J.J. Hardy were expected to at least broach the subject of a contract extension during spring training, but nothing has happened yet with May fast approaching. Hardy, 31, can become a free agent after the season once the final year of his three-year, $22.25 million contract expires.
That the Orioles haven’t been in contact with Hardy’s agent makes the shortstop scratch his head. Via Rich Dubroff of CSN Baltimore:
“I don’t know. I don’t know what to say because no matter what I say it’s going to cause some controversy, a story that I really don’t want to get involved with right now,” Hardy said. “There’s been no talk. There was going to be talk, and then there wasn’t. That’s kind of the way it’s been left.”
“It just makes me curious. I don’t understand what happened within the month or two that there was going to be talk, and all of a sudden there’s not. It just makes me curious,” Hardy said.
Hardy’s offensive numbers in 2012 and ’13 didn’t quite live up to the numbers he posted in his first year with the Orioles in 2011. And he’s off to a slow start in 2014, posting a .238/.250/.286 line over 44 plate appearances.
Hardy, by the way, left Sunday night’s game against the Red Sox with a strained right hamstring. He has also been dealing with back spasms, an injury that bothered him last season as well. While Hardy has mostly been healthy since joining the Orioles, one can understand the Orioles’ reticence in signing a long-term pact to a player dealing with various injury problems as he approaches his mid-30’s.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.