If anyone knows how J.J. Hardy feels after coming off the disabled list today, it's J.J. Hardy.
"Good," he said. "It's been a lot longer than I thought it would be."
Hardy hasn't played since April 9, when he left a game against the Rangers at Camden Yards after one at-bat. He went on the disabled list with a strained left oblique.
"I was kind of hoping for less time," said Hardy, who played in three games at Triple-A Norfolk on his injury rehab assignment, going 2-for-9 with three walks and two runs scored.
"One of the first days down there I had asked Dave Walker, who was the trainer that was working with me, what he thought. And he said he's seen a lot of these things, and he was thinking right around four weeks. I was kind of hoping for two, but he nailed it right on the head.
"I feel fine. I've played the last three games down there in Norfolk and didn't feel anything, and I feel like the injury's in the past now. That first game, and taking those live swings off game speed, was the one question mark that I had. I didn't know how I was going to feel, considering the night that I did get hurt, I was swinging before that (April 9) game and didn't feel anything, and then the first swing I took in the game, it kind of grabbed on me. But that first game (in Norfolk) went well. I took some big swings, didn't feel anything, made some plays out at shortstop, reaching out as far as I could, sliding, doing pretty much everything I could do to test it in a game, and it felt fine."
Robert Andino moves back to the bench tonight after making most of the starts in Hardy's absence.
"I was watching as much as I could," Hardy said. "It seemed like he was getting three hits every night. It was good. It was nice to see."
The Orioles were 5-1 when Hardy got injured. They're currently 14-19 and trying to snap a four-game losing streak.
"It seems like it's kind of been a roller coaster in the way everyone's kind of hit," Hardy said. "They've had their ups or downs, and I think being away and looking from the outside looking in, I know it's a good team and I think everyone still believes that. I think we just need to turn around and be more consistent."
Hardy's glad that he's able to take an active role, rather than be a spectator.
"I think anytime you're away from the team, it's tough, especially a new team," he said. "But everything went smoothly. I didn't have any setbacks. So I guess everything went as well as I guess it could have."