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Can New Oriole Tim Beckham Be J.J. Hardy's Successor At Shortstop?

August 2, 2017
BALTIMORE -- A little more than three hours after he arrived at Oriole Park, Tim Beckham was at shortstop for his first game with the Orioles.
 
Beckham, who was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays July 31 for minor league right-hander Tobias Myers, will get an opportunity to be the starting shortstop for now.
 
J.J. Hardy, who was transferred to the 60-day disabled list as Beckham and minor league right-hander Yefrey Ramirez were added to the 40-man roster, should be ready to play when he's eligible Aug. 18, manager Buck Showalter said.
 
Hardy, who is recovering from a broken right wrist, has been assured by Showalter that he'll be the starter when he returns after a rehab assignment.
 
"When J.J. comes back on the 18th, he's playing shortstop," Showalter said.
 
Beckham was 2-for-4 with two runs scored during the Orioles' 7-2 win against the Kansas City Royals Aug. 1.
 
To make room for Beckham on the 25-man roster, infielder Johnny Giavotella was designated for assignment. Showalter hopes Giavotella, who primarily plays second base, will clear waivers and return to Triple-A Norfolk. Giavotella was 1-for-10 (.100) in seven games.
 
In his first inning as an Oriole, Beckham could only marvel at the skill of his new teammate, third baseman Manny Machado.
 
Machado scooped up a slow roller by Kansas City's Lorenzo Cain and swiftly threw to first. Beckham shouted his approval to Machado.
 
"It's been fun the past couple of years playing against these guys and playing against their middle infield and watching Machado and [second baseman Jonathan] Schoop work," Beckham said before the game. "It's impressive."
 
While Hardy has been out, Ruben Tejada has gotten the majority of the starts at shortstop, but Beckham now figures to get most of the starts until Hardy returns.
 
"Tim's going to play shortstop for us tonight. That's where we're going," Showalter said before the Aug. 1 game. "Ruben's done a nice job for us. I'm not going to leave him high and dry. He'll be involved."
 
Showalter noted Beckham has minor league options remaining.
 
Ryan Flaherty, who hasn't played since May 18 because of a right shoulder injury, continues to rehab at Class-A Frederick. Flaherty will play with the Keys Aug. 2, and will then work out with the Orioles and be re-evaluated.
 
If the Orioles want to continue Flaherty's rehab, he'll move on to Triple-A Norfolk this weekend since the Tides are the only Orioles' minor league team playing at home.
 
"Some things he's still not doing," Showalter said of Flaherty.
 
Since Hardy will be a free agent after this season, the Orioles likely hope Beckham is the answer at shortstop for 2018. The Orioles don't have any major league-ready middle infielders in the high minors.
 
Schoop could move to shortstop and Beckham could play second as he did for the Rays this season, but Beckham isn't crazy about that idea.
 
"I consider myself a shortstop," Beckham said.
 
However, he said he's happy to be in Baltimore and wasn't distracted by any trade rumors.
 
"I was focused on the season," Beckham said. "I wasn't trying to get caught up in the trade talk. There was talk around the locker room, but I didn't really entertain it."

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox