BALTIMORE -- For the second consecutive game, J.J. Hardy was out of the Orioles' lineup because of a sprained left thumb. The shortstop thinks he could play if the O's need him, but for now, the team is taking the cautious approach with the two-time All-Star.
"I'm still trying to get past that point where I can go out there and play and not hurt it any worse," Hardy said.
Hardy injured the thumb in the second inning of the Orioles' 10-3 win against the Cardinals on Saturday when he slid into catcher A.J. Pierzynski at home plate. He played the remainder of that game and was scratched about a half-hour before Baltimore's 8-3 loss to St. Louis on Sunday.
Hardy had X-rays on the thumb, and there's not much he can do to treat the injury at the moment. He has been wearing a splint on the hand at times and is now trying to restore its mobility.
"Sometimes the stiffness and soreness comes from being immobile for a while," manager Buck Showalter said.
Hardy said the thumb didn't feel much different on Monday than it did the day before, but he's optimistic that he can avoid a trip to the disabled list.
For now, the O's can use Flaherty as a replacement at shortstop. If the injury shelves Hardy for long, though, then they have other options.
"I hope he [can be used off the bench today]," Showalter said before Monday's series opener against the Yankees at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. "He was going in that game yesterday if we had gone ahead. I can't tell you where we are with that now because I'm not going to broadcast it, but I'm hoping it's short. Something like this, it's day to day."
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.