J.J. Hardy scheduled to begin rehab assignment Friday

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Out since April 7 with a strained oblique muscle, J.J. Hardy is slated to begin a minor-league rehab assignment tomorrow at Triple-A.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter was unsure how long the rehab stint would last, telling Robert Falkoff of MLB.com “we’ll see how long he needs [to be] there … they have a good, long homestand.”

Injuries played a big part in why the Twins traded Hardy to the Orioles this offseason and he lasted just six games before landing back on the DL.

Robert Andino has been the primary shortstop in Hardy’s absence and is hitting .293 with a .388 on-base percentage despite terrible career numbers coming into the season.

Report: Astros, Alex Bregman agree to five-year, $100 million extension

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Fox 26’s Mark Berman reports that the Astros and third baseman Alex Bregman have agreed to $100 million contract extension. MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart confirms a deal has been reached and adds that the deal is actually for five years, beginning after the 2019 season. The contract will cover all three of Bregman’s arbitration years and two years of would-be free agency.

Bregman, who turns 25 years old later this month, has quickly become one of the best third basemen in baseball. Across parts of three seasons, he has hit .282/.366/.500 with 58 home runs, 208 RBI, 224 runs scored, and 29 stolen bases. FanGraphs credited him with 7.6 Wins Above Replacement, tied with Francisco Lindor and Christian Yelich for the fourth-best mark among position players in baseball, trailing only Mookie Betts (10.4), Mike Trout (9.8), and José Ramírez (8.0).

This is obviously a smart move for the Astros, as this contract extension will secure Bregman’s age 25-30 seasons. With second baseman José Altuve also locked up through 2024, and presumed extensions to come for Carlos Correa and possibly Gerrit Cole and George Springer, the Astros have a core that they can build around for years to come.