J.J. Hardy has had a miserable season, hitting .213 with eight homers and a career-worst .552 OPS in 111 games, and today the Orioles shortstop admitted to Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun that he’s played the entire season with a torn labrum in his left shoulder.
Hardy suffered the injury during spring training and missed the first 25 games of the season, but the Orioles called it merely a “sprain” the entire time. It was a torn labrum.
This would be a prime example of a player wanting to be tough and wanting to help the team by remaining in the lineup despite a significant injury, but the decision actually hurting the player and the team. Hardy has been one of the worst hitters in baseball this season, including batting .198 in the second half. His playing through the injury didn’t help the Orioles one bit.
Hardy previously had shoulder surgery as a Brewers prospect back in 2004 and the difficult recovery process has him wanting to avoid going under the knife again, so he told Encina that he plans to simply rest the shoulder: “I’m just going to get it stronger … that’s the plan, just get it stronger.”
Hardy has two years remaining on a three-year, $40 million contract extension signed last October, so the Orioles better hope his preference to avoid surgery pays off.