J.J. Hardy hit his first home run of the 2014 season

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It took him 65 games, but Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy is finally on the board. Hardy belted his first home run of the season, taking a 95 MPH Jose Ramirez fastball out to left field at Yankee Stadium.

Between 2007-13, the only shortstops who out-homered Hardy (144) were Troy Tulowitzki (154) and Hanley Ramirez (161). That’s why it was such a surprise to see Hardy on such a lengthy homerless drought. His last home run, prior to Saturday afternoon, occurred on September 5, 2013 against the White Sox.

Hardy, 31, will be free agent after the season following the conclusion of a three-year, $22.25 million contract with the Orioles. He is slashing .291/.319/.368 with the one homer and 16 RBI on the season.

Marcus Stroman dealing with blister again

Marcus Stroman
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Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman might be headed to the disabled list soon, manager John Gibbons told reporters following Friday’s rain-shortened loss to the Yankees. The righty lasted just four innings on the mound before calling it a night, and gave up five runs, six hits and two walks in a performance that Gibbons claimed was at least partially affected by recurring blister issues on his right middle finger. Now, it looks like he might be removed from the rotation for some much-needed rest and rehabilitation; if so, it’ll be his second such stint this year.

Stroman, 27, has struggled to return the kind of winning record and sub-4.00 ERA that characterized his previous seasons with the club, mostly due to the combined seven weeks he missed with blisters on his throwing hand and chronic fatigue in his right shoulder. In a recent start against the Rays, things got even more gruesome when his blister appeared to start bleeding in the middle of his outing and MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm notes that the wound has constantly interfered with the right-hander’s pitch selection and delivery. When healthy, Stroman has managed a 4-8 record through 18 starts in 2018 with a career-worst 5.27 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 6.8 SO/9 in 100 2/3 innings. This will be the first year since 2015 in which he has not logged at least 200 innings in a single season.

While Stroman may not need an extended stay on the DL before he returns to the mound, it’s not clear what kind of timetable the Blue Jays expect for his recovery. He’s been the second-most valuable starter (behind the now-traded J.A. Happ) in a rotation that currently ranks 17th in the majors with a combined 4.90 ERA and 6.8 fWAR.