As a minor leaguer Manny Machado was an elite shortstop prospect, but because the Orioles had J.J. Hardy there when he arrived in 2012 they shifted Machado to third base and he’s stayed there ever since.
Machado has developed into an MVP-caliber third baseman and not surprisingly his excellent defense there has been a huge part of his overall value, but tonight for the first time in his career the Orioles are starting him at shortstop.
Hardy was placed on the disabled list with a groin injury last week and manager Buck Showalter has decided he’d rather use Machado at a position he hasn’t played since 2012 than continue to use Ryan Flaherty and Paul Janish at shortstop fill-ins. Or at least that’s the case for one night.
Machado showing that he can be an above-average defensive shortstop would increase his already massive long-term value even further, although with Hardy signed through 2017 it’s likely just a short-term fix for the Orioles unless it leads to an offseason trade.
Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy has already been slumping and now Rich Dubroff of CSNMidAtlantic.com reports that he’s headed to the disabled list with a left groin injury.
The injury has bothered Hardy for a few days. The 33-year-old was held out of today’s lineup against the Twins, but entered the game as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning before leaving for a pinch-runner in the 11th. Hardy admitted to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun after the game that he felt some discomfort while running and walking, so it was decided that a trip to the disabled list is the best course of action.
Hardy is still very good defensively, but he continues to decline at the plate. He’s hitting just .145 this month and .222/.253/.315 with seven home runs and 32 RBI on the year.
Ryan Flaherty figures to get most of the playing time at shortstop with Hardy sidelined. It’s worth noting that Manny Machado made his first major league appearance at shortstop in the 12th inning today after Hardy left the game. He committed an error which opened the door for the winning run to score.
Following Saturday afternoon’s loss to the White Sox, the Orioles activated second baseman Jonathan Schoop from the 15-day disabled list. To make room for him on the roster, Ryan Flaherty was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.
Schoop, 23, was off to a good start before suffering a sprained PCL. In his first nine games, he hit .259/.310/.630 with three home runs and seven RBI in 29 plate appearances.
Flaherty, 28, hit .245/.322/.384 with three home runs and 20 RBI in 173 plate appearances.
Baltimore is already without J.J. Hardy and Jonathan Schoop, and now Ryan Flaherty has joined them on a disabled list filled with infielders.
Flaherty, who first took over at shortstop during Hardy’s absence with a shoulder injury and then moved to second base when Schoop went down with a knee injury, was placed on the shelf with a strained groin.
That leaves Everth Cabrera and Jimmy Paredes as the Orioles’ double-play duo, and Triple-A call-up Rey Navarro could also see some action.
Rough news here for the Orioles, as Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com reports that second baseman Jonathan Schoop has been diagnosed with a right PCL injury (a Grade 1 tear) and an MCL sprain.
Schoop was taken out on a slide from Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval last night, but Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun notes that the injury actually happened when he stepped on first base awkwardly later on in the game. No word on the timeline for his return, but Orioles manager Buck Showalter is hopeful that he’ll return at some point this season.
Schoop was off to a nice start so far this season, batting .259 (7-for-27) with three home runs and a .940 OPS over nine games. Ryan Flaherty and Everth Cabrera will both start for the Orioles now, but they’ll compete for at-bats at second base once shortstop J.J. Hardy is ready to come off the disabled list.