Tag Archive | "JJ Hardy"

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Bovada sets Chris Davis 2014 home run total at 39.5

Posted on 25 March 2014 by WNST Staff

Courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv, Twitter: @BovadaLV). Here are some of the more interesting player stats.

Baltimore Orioles

Chris Davis – Total HR’s in the 2014 Regular Season   

Over/Under                   39½

 

Chris Davis – Total RBI’s in the 2014 Regular Season  

Over/Under                   113½

 

Adam Jones – Total HR’s in the 2014 Regular Season  

Over/Under                   30½

 

Adam Jones – Total RBI’s in the 2014 Regular Season 

Over/Under                   95½

 

Nelson Cruz – Total HR’s in the 2014 Regular Season  

Over/Under                   25½

 

Matt Wieters – Total HR’s in the 2014 Regular Season  

Over/Under                   23½

 

J.J. Hardy – Total HR’s in the 2014 Regular Season      

Over/Under                   24½

 

Nick Markakis – BA in the 2014 Regular Season           

Over/Under                   .285

 

Ubaldo Jimenez – Total Wins in the 2014 Regular Season       

Over/Under                   12½

 

Chris Tillman – Total Wins in the 2014 Regular Season

Over/Under                   11½

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Hardy, Jones join Davis as leading All-Star vote getters at respective positions

Posted on 08 June 2013 by WNST Staff

Hardy overtakes Andrus at shortstop in latest American League balloting figures

Jones Passes Trout for Top Outfield Spot; Cabrera Maintains Overall Lead

 

Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy, who is bidding for his second All-Star appearance and his first fan-elected start, has surpassed Elvis Andrus of the Texas Rangers in the second balloting figures for the 84th All-Star Game, to be played on Tuesday, July 16th at Citi Field in New York. The latest A.L. results were announced earlier this evening on FOX as part of its “Baseball Night in America” pre-game show. The second National League balloting results will be revealed tomorrow night on ESPN during “Baseball Tonight” at 7:00 p.m. prior to its Sunday Night Baseball telecast.

Hardy, an All-Star in 2007, is aiming to become just the third Orioles shortstop to earn a fan-elected start, joining Cal Ripken, Jr. (12 times; 1984-87, 89-96) and Miguel Tejada (2005). In addition, he is attempting to become the first A.L. shortstop other than Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees to earn a fan-elected starting nod since Tejada. Hardy, who leads all A.L. shortstops with 13 home runs and 37 RBI, has totaled 1,231,843 votes. He is trailed closely by Andrus, a two-time All-Star, who has received 1,045,885.

Hardy’s Orioles teammate Adam Jones has taken over the top spot in the A.L. outfield with 1,944,450 votes, and last week’s leader, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, follows right behind with 1,939,486 votes. Jones, striving for his third All-Star appearance and first fan-elected start, would become just the fourth Orioles outfielder in history to receive a fan-elected start, joining Hall of Famer Frank Robinson (1970-71), Ken Singleton (1981) and Brady Anderson (1997). Jones, who has reached base safely in 52 of his 61 games this season, ranks among the top 10 in the A.L. with 43 runs (tied for third), 77 hits (fourth) and 18 doubles (tied for fifth). Trout, the 2012 A.L. Rookie of the Year, is vying for his second Midsummer Classic appearance after becoming the seventh-youngest A.L. position player in All-Star history last year. The 21-year-old has reached safely in 55 games this season and his 24 multi-hit games are tied for second in the A.L.

Rounding out the top three outfielders is Torii Hunter of the Detroit Tigers, who has collected 1,067,973 votes as he aims for his fifth All-Star appearance and second fan-elected start (2002). The nine-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner, who is one home run shy of 300 for his career, would join Ron LeFlore (1976), Rusty Staub (1976), Chet Lemon (1984) and Magglio Ordoñez (2007) as the only Detroit outfielders to earn a fan-elected starting assignment. Hunter, in his first season in the Motor City, is trying to hold off a trio of outfielders, including Nick Markakis (1,030,653) of the Orioles, three-time All-Star and two-time fan-elected starter Jose Bautista (1,021,813) of the Toronto Blue Jays and 2009 All-Star Nelson Cruz (1,011,198) of the Rangers.

Hunter’s Tiger teammate Miguel Cabrera continues to hold the overall lead in the A.L. with 2,355,128 votes. The seven-time All-Star, who is bidding for his first-ever fan-elected start, leads the Majors with a .368 batting average, 67 RBI, 88 hits, 26 multi-hit games and a .447 on-base percentage. The 2012 A.L. MVP, who became the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years, also paces the A.L. with 47 runs scored. He is trailed at third base by 20-year-old Manny Machado (1,170,108) of the Orioles, who leads the Majors with 26 doubles and ranks second behind Cabrera with 84 hits.

Joining Hardy and Cabrera in the A.L. infield is Hardy’s Baltimore teammate and first baseman Chris Davis and Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano. Davis, who has received the second-highest number of votes in the A.L. with 2,084,274, is contending for his Midsummer Classic debut, and would become the first Orioles first baseman since Hall of Famer Eddie Murray in 1985 to receive a fan-elected start. Davis, who leads the Majors with 20 home runs and a .719 slugging percentage, is on pace to hit 55 home runs and 55 doubles. He is trailed at first base by four-time All-Star Prince Fielder of the Tigers, who has tallied 1,469,537 votes. Cano, who is seeking his fourth consecutive starting assignment and fifth All-Star nod overall, would become the first A.L. second baseman to earn four consecutive fan-elected starts since Roberto Alomar had five from 1996-2000. Cano, who has garnered 1,851,371 votes, leads Major League second basemen with 15 home runs and a .510 slugging percentage, and he is tops among A.L. second basemen with 39 RBI. He is followed by three-time All-Star and two-time fan-elected starter Dustin Pedroia (1,106,949) of the A.L. East rival Boston Red Sox.

Minnesota Twins backstop Joe Mauer, who has totaled 1,492,396 votes, continues to lead Orioles catcher Matt Wieters (1,153,795), a two-time All-Star, behind the plate. Mauer, a five-time All-Star and three-time fan-elected starter, would join Hall of Famers Rod Carew (nine times) and Kirby Puckett (six times) as the only Twins to earn at least four fan-elected starts.

Eight-time All-Star and six-time fan-elected starter David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox maintains a comfortable lead at designated hitter, having received 1,716,410 votes. Ortiz, who is trailed by Lance Berkman (957,618) of the Rangers, would become the second Red Sox player in history to earn seven fan-elected starts, joining his former teammate Manny Ramirez. In addition, Ortiz would become the 10th player in A.L. history to receive at least seven fan-elected starts with a single team, joining Hall of Famers Cal Ripken, Jr. (17, Baltimore), George Brett (11, Kansas City), Carew (9, Minnesota) and Dave Winfield (7, New York), and other A.L. All-Stars Ken Griffey, Jr. (10, Seattle), Ichiro Suzuki (9, Seattle), Ivan Rodriguez (9, Texas), Jeter (8, New York) and Ramirez (7, Boston).

MLB’s All-Star Balloting Program is the largest of its kind in professional sports, and last year produced a record-shattering total of 40.2 million ballots cast. This year, more than 20 million Firestone All-Star ballots will be distributed at the 30 Major League ballparks, each of which will have 25 dates for balloting, and in approximately 100 Minor League ballparks.

In addition, fans around the world can cast their votes for starters 25 times exclusively at MLB.com and all 30 Club web sites – online or via their mobile devices – with the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by freecreditscore.com. During the voting period, the All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by freecreditscore.com will be available in English, Spanish, Japanese, Korean and Chinese, and will offer audio CAPTCHA functionality for visually-impaired fans. Banco BHD will sponsor online All-Star balloting in the Dominican Republic, making Spanish-language ballots available to fans in the Dominican Republic via LasMayores.com, the official Spanish-language Web site of Major League Baseball.

Every Major League Club began its in-stadium balloting no later than Tuesday, May 7th. When the in-stadium phase of balloting concludes on Friday, June 28th, fans will have the opportunity to cast their ballots exclusively online at MLB.com, the 30 Club Web sites and their mobile devices until Thursday, July 4th at 11:59 p.m. (EDT).

Firestone, the official tire of MLB, is once again the exclusive sponsor of the 2013 In-Stadium All-Star Balloting Program. The ballot features an All-Star sweepstakes, in which a winner will be rewarded with a trip for two to MLB All-Star Week, including airfare, hotel accommodations and tickets to the All-Star Game and other MLB All-Star Week events.

For the fifth consecutive year, this year’s ballot features the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select the three players in each League who they would most like to see participate in the Home Run Derby. The Fan Poll is also available online at MLB.com. The 2013 Home Run Derby, part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day, will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 8:00 p.m. (EDT) on Monday, July 15th. The 10 American League candidates are Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays; Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers; Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers; the winner of the 2011 Home Run Derby, Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees; Adam Dunn of the Chicago White Sox; the winner of the 2009 and 2012 Home Run Derby, Prince Fielder of the Tigers; Josh Hamilton of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles; Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays; and Mike Trout of the Angels. The 10 National League candidates are Carlos Beltran of the St. Louis Cardinals; Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers; Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals; Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves; Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers; Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates; Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants; Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins; Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds; and David Wright of the Mets.

The A.L. All-Star Team will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the N.L. All-Star Team will have eight fan-elected starters. The pitchers and reserves for both squads – totaling 25 for the N.L. and 24 for the A.L. – will be determined through a combination of “Player Ballot” choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers – A.L. skipper Jim Leyland of the Detroit Tigers and N.L. manager Bruce Bochy of the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants.

Immediately following the announcement of the American League and National League All-Star rosters, fans will begin voting to select the final player for each League’s 34-man roster via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by freecreditscore.com. Fans will cast their votes from a list of five players from each League over a four-day period and the winners will be announced after the voting concludes on Thursday, July 11th. Now in its 12th season with more than 350 million votes cast, fans again will be able to make their Final Vote selections on MLB.com, Club sites and their mobile phones.

This year’s final phase of All-Star Game voting again will have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com and the 30 Club sites via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining this year’s recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday, July 16th. The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International’s independent feed. Pregame ceremonies will begin at 7:30 p.m. (EDT). ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com or mets.com/asg.

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Orioles among All-Star Game leading vote getters

Posted on 05 June 2012 by WNST Staff

(FROM PRESS RELEASE)

Several Orioles players dotted the leaderboard according to the voting results released Tuesday for this year’s All-Star Game selections. Center fielder Adam Jones is the top-ranking vote-getter among Orioles players with 857,543 votes and is in fifth place among outfielders. Matt Wieters is in second place among AL catchers with 713,469 votes.

Other Orioles in the running after the initial voting results were revealed include J.J. Hardy, who is third among shortstops and Robert Andino, who is in fourth place among second basemen. Nick Markakis ranks 12th in the AL outfield race.

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Hardy, Davis Homer For Orioles in Win Over Florida Southern

Posted on 02 April 2012 by WNST Staff

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Hardy More Comfortable in Second Sarasota Spring

Posted on 27 February 2012 by WNST Staff

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Live from Camden Yards: J.J. Hardy returns to lineup as O’s begin four game set against White Sox

Posted on 08 August 2011 by Peter Dilutis

BALTIMORE – The Orioles open up a four game set against the Chicago White Sox on Monday as Jeremy Guthrie takes the mound against John Danks.

The good news for the Birds, and they sure needed a bit of positive news, is that J.J. Hardy is back in the lineup batting leadoff and playing shortstop. Hardy arrived at the ballpark and declared himself good to go for Monday’s game.

“I went outside and tested it, doing all the things that hurt me in Kansas City, and it felt fine,” Hardy said.

Hardy is looking forward to rebounding from what many consider to be one of his worst stretches as an Oriole.

“It was a rough road-trip depending on how you look at it,” Hardy said. “I know I only got eight hits but they were good hits. Something I already forgot about, thanks for reminding me, but I feel like it will be good to get back in there. Glad it was only three days.”

The O’s other main injury concern, Chris Davis, was in good spirits today as he seems eager to get back on the field and show the O’s brass what he can do. While not in the lineup on Monday, it seems likely that Davis will return by Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest.

“I feel good today,” Davis said. “I feel like I could have played today. I’m going to take BP and I’m going to hit in the cage. I think they’re just being cautious, like I said yesterday. I haven’t done anything in the last couple of days so I’ll do some stuff today and see how I’m going to feel, see if I’m going to be sore. I’m going to go take some BP and try to hit some balls on Eutaw Street, so it will be fun.”

Davis was asked if he tried to coax his way into the lineup for the series opener.

“I’ve tried,” Davis said. “I literally actually put my name in the lineup before anyone else did, and when I came back it said I was pitching so I moved it back out of the lineup. I would love to pitch, but I just don’t want to subject these guys to that.”

Izturis update

Cesar Izturis left Sunday’s game with a groin injury. Buck Showalter said that Izturis felt worse Monday than he did on Sunday, adding that it “doesn’t sound good right now.”

From hearing Buck, I think another DL stint for Izturis is highly likely.

Jo-Jo a go

Buck Showalter confirmed Monday that Jo-Jo Reyes will start Tuesday’s game. Showalter made it a point to stress how important it was for Reyes to take advantage of this opportunity, implying that Zach Britton will be back soon which could put Reyes’ brief rotation spot in jeopardy if he fails to pitch well for the Birds.

Speaking of Zach Britton, Showalter confirmed with reporters that with his stint in the minors, his abbreviated outings against the Yankees and Red Sox, and now his DL stint, there is now no need to think about shutting Britton down early in an attempt to limit his innings. At this point, when Britton returns, he’ll be back for good, assuming good health and performance.

Here are tonight’s lineups:

Baltimore

SS: Hardy
RF: Markakis
CF: Jones
DH: Guerrero
1B: Reynolds
LF: Reimold
C: Wieters
2B: Andino
3B: Bell

SP: Guthrie

Chicago

LF: Pierre
SS: Ramirez
DH: Konerko
RF: Quentin
C: Pierzynski
LF: Rios
1B: Dunn
2B: Beckham
3B: Morel

SP: Danks

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Live from Camden Yards: O’s look to take series vs. Jays behind Alfredo Simon

Posted on 07 August 2011 by Peter Dilutis

**Join us in the Orange Crush chat today at 1:30PM. If you’re watching the O’s, surfing the Internet, or both, stop by and share your thoughts with us. It’s always fun!

BALTIMORE – The Orioles haven’t won a series since they won the rubber game against the Cincinnati Reds on June 26th. They look to snap that streak today as they take on the Blue Jays at Camden Yards behind their most impressive pitcher of late, Alfredo Simon.

In Simon’s last four starts, he has given up just 8 runs in 25.2 innings. As Buck Showalter likes to say, he has seized his opportunity and ran with it. When the O’s have desperately needed a starter to give them quality innings, Alfredo Simon has stepped up.

“He’s pitching real well as a starter and especially with some of our injuries,” said Buck Showalter. “It’s worked out well. He’s been able to defend himself against left handed hitters for the most part.”

Showalter continued discussing Simon’s recent success.

“It seemed like last year in the bullpen he got a little defensive and…always seemed to go to the breaking ball….he kind of got away from his fastball,” Showalter said. “He’s been able to set that up and pitch more aggressively with it which has been able to set some other pitches up. I think he’s gotten more confident with the fastball as a starter.”

On a day when the Orioles are feeling good about the effort they saw from Chris Tillman on Saturday night, another quality outing by Simon along with a series win would certainly represent one of the better days of late here in Birdland.

Opposing Simon will be Ricky Romero. Romero has established himself as one of the better starters in baseball, sporting a mediocre 9-9 record but more importantly pitching to an ERA under 3 runs a game.

Just 10 days ago, Romero pitched into the ninth inning against the Birds in Toronto, going 8.1 innings allowing just four hits and three walks while striking out nine Orioles. Romero has started 11 games against the O’s over his career, going 5-3 with a 3.19 ERA.

Chris Davis and JJ Hardy update

“We’re progressing,” Showalter said. “We’re excited about what we got back from the CT Scan (J.J. Hardy) and the MRI (Chris Davis). We feel like it’s pretty imminent that they’re back on the field shortly.”

On Kevin Gregg’s leadership in locker-room

Buck was asked if it was rare that a relief pitcher can be such a mentor to all pitchers, relievers and even starters, in the locker-room.

“If you look at his background and the things he’s been through in his career to establish himself, there are reasons why those things happen,” Showalter said. “Kind of like the reason why the situation found him in Boston. He gets it. Kevin gets it. He understands the ups and downs and he also will call BS. He’s the voice of reality. If your looking for someone to tell you what you want to hear he’s the wrong guy. If you want to get an answer about reality then go sit down.”

Showalter believes Gregg is a great resource for young pitchers on and off the field.

“He’s very popular, I think he is, to most people,” Showalter said. “It’s kind of revealing the people that don’t seek him out, in a way. He’s not a guy that’s always initiating, but if you ask, he’ll try to help. But he knows he’s got challenges too that he’s attacking.”

O’s fans hope Gregg will get a chance on Sunday to close down the series for the Birds in the ninth inning.

Here are today’s lineups:

BALTIMORE

SS: Robert Andino
RF: Nick Markakis
CF:  Adam Jones
DH: Vladimir Guerrero
1B: Mark Reynolds
LF: Nolan Reimold
C: Craig Tatum
3B: Josh Bell
2B: Cesar Izturis

SP: Alfredo Simon

Toronto

LF: Rajai Davis
SS: Yunel Escobar
RF: Jose Bautista
DH: Adam Lind
1B: Edwin Encarnacion
CF: Colby Rasmus
C: J.P. Arencibia
2B: John McDonald
3B: Brett Lawrie

SP: Ricky Romero


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Live from Camden Yards: Buck speaks as O’s begin 10 game homestand

Posted on 05 August 2011 by Peter Dilutis

BALTIMORE – The Orioles begin a 10 game homestand Friday night with the first three contests coming against the Toronto Blue Jays. Tommy Hunter, acquired from Texas in the Koji Uehara trade, will be making his first start as a member of the Orioles.

Prior to the game, Buck Showalter met with the media and shared many interesting tidbits.

On Cesar Izturis coming off the DL: “It’s been a long road for Izzy. I’m proud of him to get back. Happy to get him back, as much as a person as a player. He’s ready to go. We’ll move him around a little bit.”

On the J.J. Hardy injury front: “J.J.’s got an upper ankle that’s bothering him. In fact it feels pretty good today. It’s kind of strange because he’ll go through periods when he doesn’t feel it at all early on in the day, and then the game starts and it got a little worse last night as the game went on. He can’t tell any one play or anything he did where he felt it. It just got a little progressively worse. We kind of lose sight that the doctors have other patients as important as our guys. So Dr. Wilkins will be here shortly, and he’s had a full day here to look at J.J. I would imagine we’ll get an MRI done tomorrow morning.”

On Arrieta’s elbow concerns: “He has an appointment on the 10th (of August). He won’t be pitching between now and the 10th. A lot depends on what Dr. Yocum says.”

On Tillman getting an extended look in rotation. “I hope so. I hope so. I hope he pitches well enough to do that. If he could put together (a start) like the first couple innings that he had, that would be there. It’s there for him if he’ll seize the opportunity. Very much like Simon.”

On being surprised at Mark Connor’s decision to return to the Texas Rangers organization: “No. Not at all. He’s very well thought of over there, and that job description fits him very well where he is in his life. He’s very familiar with all the pitching people, and they with him. It didn’t surprise me at all. I know they had called Andy about it.”

On that note, here are tonight’s lineups:

Baltimore:

SS: Robert Andino
RF: Nick Markakis
CF: Adam Jones
DH: Vladimir Guerrero
3B: Mark Reynolds
C: Matt Wieters
1B: Chris Davis
LF: Nolan Reimold
2B: Cesar Izturis

SP: Tommy Hunter

TORONTO

SS: Yunel Escobar
LF: Eric Thames
RF: Jose Bautista
1B: Adam Lind
DH: Edwin Encarnacion
CF: Colby Rasmus
2B: Aaron Hill
C: J.P. Arencibia
3B: Brett Lawrie

SP: Brad Mills

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Why is JJ Hardy staying in Baltimore?

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Why is JJ Hardy staying in Baltimore?

Posted on 18 July 2011 by Rex Snider

You can count me among the collection of those who were a little surprised by Saturday’s announcement of JJ Hardy’s new deal with the Orioles.

From a financial perspective, I don’t dispute the commitment from the birds. The organization’s top prospect, Manny Machado, is learning his craft at Frederick and limited middle infield options appear on the horizon during the upcoming off-season.

An expenditure of $22 million over 3 years seems quite reasonable for the Orioles.

But, in viewing the deal from JJ Hardy’s side of the fence, I am a little perplexed. In fact, I think a few peculiar questions should exist …..

Given the perceived lack of shortstop depth in the 2012 free agent class, did Hardy’s representatives feel he couldn’t garner at least $8 million, per season, over the next few years?

Has the product of 3+ months on a last place Orioles team provided Hardy with a comfortable outlook over the next 36 months?

Is this deal really about financial security for a lifetime, as Hardy approaches his 29th birthday?
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I guess the preceding questions are a roundabout way of suggesting JJ Hardy and his agents huddled and ultimately said “let’s do the safe thing.” After all, the world knows the Orioles shortstop has realized a big league career littered with injuries and stints on the disabled list.

And, while he’s had a briefly respectable run in an Orioles uniform, it’s quite apparent Hardy is not the player envisioned during the summers of 2008 and 2008, in Milwaukee.

I’ve been quietly impressed with his transition to the leadoff role in Brian Roberts’ absence, and he’s flashed stellar defense with some consistent power potential through the first half of the season.

But, what possesses JJ Hardy to renew with the Orioles – for a modest raise – without testing the market? I’m not ranking him as the complimentary to Jose Reyes, but he would be a formidable consolation prize for a contender that needs a shortstop for the next few seasons.

Does he envision an Orioles team capable of doing something markedly better than what’s been achieved through 92 games? Maybe, he’s just comfortable here …..

Like I said, it’s a good deal for the Orioles. And, the shortstop obviously thinks it’s a contract fit for his immediate future. But, one question lingers for me …..

Why is JJ Hardy staying in Baltimore? I would really like to know.

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Orioles shortstop Hardy relieved to have new contract

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Orioles shortstop Hardy relieved to have new contract

Posted on 16 July 2011 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — With the trade deadline two weeks away and the possibility of multiple teams being after his services this offseason, shortstop J.J. Hardy decided he was having too much fun with the last-place Orioles this season.

The 28-year-old shortstop agreed to terms on a new three-year contract to remain with Baltimore through the 2014 season. Reports indicate the deal will pay him in the neighborhood of $22 million over the next three seasons and will include a limited no-trade clause. The deal is pending a physical and has not been officially signed.

“There are a lot of things I don’t have to worry about now,” Hardy said. “It’s definitely a relief, a big weight off my shoulders, and just worry about playing baseball now.”

His 13 home runs is third on the club despite missing a month of the season with a strained oblique muscle. While spending a significant portion of the season in the leadoff spot, Hardy’s .490 slugging percentage is tops among regulars in the Orioles lineup.

Hardy had represented the Orioles’ biggest trade chip, but 19-year-old prospect Manny Machado is a few years away from being ready to take over the shortstop position in Baltimore, prompting president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail to lock up one of the few bright spots of a disappointing season. Given Hardy’s injury history, he likely chose to avoid playing out the final two months of the season and risk an injury that could diminish his value.

“The biggest thing for me was the fact that I have been having fun here,” said Hardy, who admitted he and his agent had discussed possible teams seeking a shortstop this winter. “I like this clubhouse, I like this organization, and that was a big part for me.”

The fact that Hardy thought enough of his brief time with the Orioles to want to stay has to be a minor boost for an organization heading toward its 14th straight losing season. The shortstop wants to be part of a turnaround and hopes to be a major reason for it.

“Right now, it’s not going that well, but there is some potential,” Hardy said. “I feel like this team is a lot better than what we’ve been doing the last couple weeks. I like challenges as well as being competitive. I feel like it’s definitely a big challenge to turn this whole organization around. If I can help be a part of that, then great.”

Given the Orioles’ current stretch of nine straight losses and 23 defeats in their last 29 games, there’s been growing sentiment for the organization to sell off players and start the rebuilding process again. However, the Hardy signing means the club appears to be pushing forward with the current group of young players — for better or worse.

Right fielder Nick Markakis expressed his satisfaction with the Orioles locking up Hardy for the next three years. It was just over a year ago when the normally soft-spoken Markakis publicly questioned the direction of the organization before MacPhail hired Showalter to manager the Orioles in late July.

“It definitely means a lot to the club, the organization, and, most of all, the fans,” said Markakis, who applauded Hardy’s work in the leadoff spot for the injured Brian Roberts. “The fans have been been here a lot longer than I have and all the guys in this clubhouse. They deserve it more than anything.

“We’re working, we’re trying to climb that mountain. We’re on that way; it’s just a matter of time.”

Listen to all of Hardy’s comments as well as more from Markakis in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault.

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