ST. PETERSBURG -- Should the Orioles get in a bind at second base, with the team optioning utility man Ryan Flaherty on Monday, the team's emergency option is shortstop J.J. Hardy.
Hardy, an All-Star and Gold Glove winner at shortstop, could remember one time he played second base: when he was maybe 10 or 11 years old, filling in for his brother on the bigger field. Now, the 33-year-old thinks he could handle it, but he wouldn't want to replace second baseman Jonathan Schoop.
"It would definitely be different. Obviously, it's a shorter throw to first base, turning double plays is a totally different side of the bag. But I've turned a few when we are in the shift," Hardy said. "Let's just hope, keep our fingers crossed, there's no emergency."
Hardy, in his 12th Major League season, has never played any other position since he was drafted by Milwaukee in the second round of the 2001 Draft.
If something happened to Schoop, Hardy would slide over to second base and third baseman Manny Machado would take over at shortstop. From there, Orioles manager Buck Showalter could put first baseman Chris Davis at third base and Mark Trumbo at first base. Pedro Alvarez also has experience at third and first.
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.