MASNsports.com writer Roch Kubatko has reported that Orioles starting shortstop J.J. Hardy is likely to miss Opening Day after suffering a subscapularis strain to his non-throwing left shoulder.

Hardy, who dealt with injuries throughout much of the 2014 season, injured the shoulder attempting a diving play during last Friday’s game against the Rays. The Orioles had been banking on a return to health by Hardy this season, after he hit only nine home runs in 2014.

The results of an MRA performed on Hardy’s shoulder revealed the sprain. Hardy will not need surgery to repair the shoulder, but he will be held out of all baseball activities for a minimum of ten days, placing his status for Opening Day in serious jeopardy. Hardy could begin the season on the disabled list to free up a roster spot for an additional infielder.

The injury to Hardy gives the Orioles more time to come to a decision regarding the future of backup infielders Ryan Flaherty and Everth Cabrera. Jonathan Schoop remains entrenched as the club’s second baseman.

Flaherty manned the shortstop spot in parts of 29 games last season, starting 21 in Hardy’s absence. He has a career .981 fielding percentage and has made only 15 career errors. Cabrera was a late winter acquisition by the Orioles. After an All-Star appearance for the Padres in 2013, Cabrera’s career began going off the rails after his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, multiple run-ins with the laws, and nagging injuries.

Without Hardy, both Flaherty and Cabrera will assuredly start the season on the Orioles roster. Other infielders in Orioles camp with Major League experience are Jayson Nix and Paul Janish.

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