Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy cleared for rehab assignment

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It’s taken much longer than initially expected, but the Orioles have cleared shortstop J.J. Hardy to begin a minor-league rehab assignment as he comes back from a left shoulder injury that’s sidelined him all season.

Nearly a month ago Hardy was said to be “close” to starting a rehab stint, but instead he continued to rest before receiving a cortisone injection in late April. Now he’s set to play Monday night at Double-A and will likely play at least 3-4 games there before potentially coming off the disabled list, according to Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com.

Hardy’s return would provide a much-needed boost to the Orioles’ injury wrecked middle infield, which of late has consisted of Everth Cabrera at shortstop and 32-year-old Steve Pearce seeing his first career action at second base.

Mets are interested in Rick Porcello

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Jon Heyman reports that the Mets are interested in free agent pitcher Rick Porcello and have been speaking to his agent.

Porcello is coming off a pretty dreadful 2019 season in which he went 14-12 with a 5.52 ERA in 32 starts. That ERA was the worst in the majors among qualified starters. He’s also pretty homer happy. But (a) he’s durable; and (b) a change of scenery and a move to a more pitcher-friendly division and park might do him some good, so it’s not like he’s a bad guy for the Mets to be looking at. He’s only going to be 31 next season and he’s just a year removed from a decent season.

There are far worse bounceback candidates.