BALTIMORE -- About half an hour before the Orioles began their season finale with the Cardinals, an eventual 8-3 loss, J.J. Hardy was still part of the O's lineup. But after the shortstop took some swings, the Orioles decided to play it safe with his left thumb sprain and give him the day off.
"He wanted to play today," manager Buck Showalter said. "Probably could have. Swung the bat. He was going to make a little adjustment in his grip. Obviously, his left hand doesn't bother him defensively. But the wrong jam shot…"
Hardy, who entered the day batting .283 with six homers and 40 RBIs, injured his thumb during Baltimore's win on Saturday when he slid into catcher A.J. Pierzynski in the second inning. Hardy was on the field for pregame batting practice and was initially listed as batting sixth. He was replaced by Ryan Flaherty, who took over the eighth spot.
After Sunday's game, Hardy said the thumb was "a little bit sore" and making it tough to grip and swing the bat and open and close his glove. He and the O's aren't yet sure how long the injury will keep the former All-Star out.
"I have no idea," Hardy said. "Any time you're dealing with your hands it's tough in this sport. It's definitely frustrating. Hopefully, today's the only day and I'll come in tomorrow and I'll be able to get through it."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.