Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy has already been slumping and now Rich Dubroff of CSNMidAtlantic.com reports that he’s headed to the disabled list with a left groin injury.
The injury has bothered Hardy for a few days. The 33-year-old was held out of today’s lineup against the Twins, but entered the game as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning before leaving for a pinch-runner in the 11th. Hardy admitted to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun after the game that he felt some discomfort while running and walking, so it was decided that a trip to the disabled list is the best course of action.
Hardy is still very good defensively, but he continues to decline at the plate. He’s hitting just .145 this month and .222/.253/.315 with seven home runs and 32 RBI on the year.
Ryan Flaherty figures to get most of the playing time at shortstop with Hardy sidelined. It’s worth noting that Manny Machado made his first major league appearance at shortstop in the 12th inning today after Hardy left the game. He committed an error which opened the door for the winning run to score.
The Astros and Nationals share a spring training facility, so it was only natural that they would open Grapefruit League play together. The Astros were the home team. Here’s the lineup they rolled out.
Teams typically include at least a few regulars in their spring training lineups as a courtesy to the fans, who are spending money to see big league players play baseball. This is especially the case for home games. However, the Astros have decided to roll out a lineup with a combined 323 MLB plate appearances.
There might be a reason for that. Houston was lustily booed as they took the field. This was after running a video on the scoreboard celebrating their 2019 AL championship.
That’s all with the team that beat them in the World Series (and is widely regarded as baseball’s current heroes for beating the big bad cheating Astros) in the other dugout, of course. Nationals starter Max Scherzer has not thrown at any Houston player, and the game is now in a rain delay. But it seems like the Astros decided to spare their players from some possible rough treatment, both from fans and opposing pitchers.
The same could not be said for Astros mascot Orbit, who was also booed.
One can quibble with the merits of booing a bunch of players who have barely touched the big leagues because you’re mad at Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, but sports fandom is something of an irrational business. Fans are going to want their pound of flesh, especially when they paid for the right to be in the ballpark and give the Astros a piece of their mind. Some of them even brought props! This is just how it all works, unfortunately. If you’re in an Astros uniform, you’re probably going to get booed.
Welcome to the 2020 season, Astros. It’s probably going to be like this all year.