It was announced on June 19th that J.J. Hardy has a non-displaced fracture in his wrist that will sideline him 4-6 weeks. This is another hit to the roster as Chris Davis is already out indefinitely with an oblique injury and will likely not be back until the All Star break. This would appear as a big hit to the lineup as two fan favorites will not appear on game day rosters, but the injuries could turn out as a positive. As it goes in the sports world, bad luck for some means opportunity for others.
Since Chris Davis’ injury, Buck Showalter has moved Trey Mancini back to 1st, the position he was drafted for, placed Hyun Soo Kim in outfield rotation and now Reuben Tejada will play Short Stop for at least the next two months. This is a blessing in disguise because it finally allows Hyun Soo Kim to contribute on a regular basis because he has been one of the most consistent Orioles since they signed him in 2016. Last year, Kim finished the season with .302 batting average and an OPS of .801, and appears to putting up the same numbers this year.
J.J. Hardy has been struggling this year with a .211 batting average and has been injury prone since 2015. It appears we are witnessing the inevitable decline of a solid career in baseball. While he wasn’t always the best shortstop in the game, he was dependable for his whole career. Losing Hardy at short gives Ruben Tejada a shot, who appears, at best a platoon player, but maybe he will be able to catch on to the starting roster in Hardy’s absence, or at least share the role with Ryan Flaherty once he returns.
Giving guys a chance is what sports are all about, finding out if the team may have a hidden gem in their midst. It could be a way to fill in the gap or keep the status quo if a starting player goes down. For guys like Trey Mancini and Joey Rickard, a chance got them on the Orioles’ 40-man roster and contributing at a consistent level. Kim and Tejada aren’t spring chickens by any means, but chances at the plate can’t hurt these guys at this point and maybe all they need to reach their peak is an opportunity.