Orioles agree to three-year contract extension with J.J. Hardy

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UPDATE: Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun adds that the deal is worth between $22-22.5 million over three years. The no-trade clause involves eight teams and Hardy has been assured that he will not be traded this season.

12:38 PM: Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles and shortstop J.J. Hardy have agreed in principal on a three-year contract extension.

No word yet on the specifics, but Zrebiec hears that it’s worth between $7-8 million per season, which is similar to what Buster Olney of ESPN reported yesterday. The contract includes a limited no-trade clause.

There are still some minor details to be worked out and the deal is contingent upon Hardy passing a physical.

Hardy, 28, is batting .275/.333/.490 with 13 homers, 33 RBI and an .823 OPS in 274 plate appearances this season. Though he has struggled to stay healthy in the past, this is a pretty fair deal to lock up one of the better all around shortstops in the league.

Rene Rivera out 4-6 weeks after undergoing knee surgery

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Angels catcher Rene Rivera will be sidelined for up to six weeks, the club announced Friday. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list with right knee inflammation last Sunday and underwent surgery for a torn meniscus.

Rivera, 34, signed on as a backup catcher to the Angels’ Martin Maldonado back in January. Since then, he’s slashed a healthy .259/.322/.481 with six extra-base hits and an .804 OPS in 59 plate appearances this spring. While manager Mike Scioscia doesn’t anticipate any complications with the veteran catcher’s recovery process, the team will have to wait and see whether he can maintain that kind of consistent production upon his return this summer.

In the interim, rookie backstop Jose Briceno is expected to shoulder Rivera’s workload. The 25-year-old is working through his second year in the Angels’ organization and currently batting .261/.272/.500 with six home runs in 92 PA for Triple-A Salt Lake. He’s likely to make his big league debut sometime in the next week.