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.
The Mariners announced that the club claimed Kaleb Cowart off waivers from the Angels. Interestingly, the Mariners list Cowart as both an outfielder and a right-handed pitcher. Cowart has never pitched professionally, but the Mariners will try him as a two-way player next season, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Cowart was a highly regarded pitcher in high school.
Cowart, 26, has played all over the field, spending most of his time at third base and second base, but also logging a handful of innings at first base, shortstop, and left field. He hasn’t hit much at all, owning a career .177/.241/.293 triple-slash line across 380 plate appearances in the big leagues. It makes sense to try another angle.
Shohei Ohtani, of course, is helping to popularize the rebirth of the two-way player. In his first year in the majors after having played in Japan for five years, Ohtani won the AL Rookie of the Year Award by posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances along with a 3.31 ERA over 10 starts. Don’t expect Cowart to hit those lofty numbers, but additional versatility could prolong his life in the majors.