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With Uncertain Future, Orioles' J.J. Hardy Wants To Play On

August 9, 2017
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy has been on the disabled list since he suffered a broken right wrist June 18, and while the veteran hasn't played, he's been a presence around the team.
When Tim Beckham, who has played shortstop for the Orioles since he was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays July 31, was announced as the American League Player of the Week July 31, he pointed out that Hardy had helped him defensively.
"I've been in this position before. I was in this position in Milwaukee," Hardy said. "I felt like I tried to help Alcides Escobar out a lot, and he, in turn, was the guy who took my spot and made me leave Milwaukee. I see that most likely being the case here."
Hardy spent five seasons with the Brewers before being traded to the Minnesota Twins after the 2009 season. A year later, the Twins sent him to the Orioles, where he has spent the past seven seasons.
"It's a business," Hardy said. "I guess it's the type of person I am. I'm not going to be the guy to try and make [Beckham] feel uncomfortable. For whatever reasons, if I can help him out in any way, then great. I don't think it's anything I'm saying. It's more of [third base coach Bobby Dickerson] using me as an example to help him, so it is what it is. I'm trying to do my part."

Hardy will turn 35 Aug. 19, and he said it doesn't make him uncomfortable knowing Beckham may be his successor next year. 
"To be honest, no. I'm really, really aware of what's going on around me, maybe to a fault," Hardy said. "I've seen it. I know what's going on. There's really nothing that I can do. You just have to remember the business part of it.
"It's been … it's been great. Everything will come to an end, and there's nothing I can do about it. Had I been playing better the first two months of the season and not gotten hurt, obviously, this wouldn't be an issue, but that's not the case."

While he's been injured, Hardy has had time to contemplate his future, but he dismissed the notion that the time away has made him more prepared to deal with the next phase of his career. Hardy has a $14 million option for next season that would have kicked in if he had reached 600 plate appearances this season, which won't happen. 
Hardy would certainly like to continue his playing career beyond this season.
"I'm not saying that I'm done playing. I just know what's going on in this organization," Hardy said. "I'm not going to say that I'm done playing baseball, no way. I guess I can make that decision after this offseason and see what other options are. I'm not saying I'm done playing."

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox