J.J. Hardy out 2-3 weeks with strained oblique muscle

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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.