Beck­ham at short for long haul

Hardy re­joins club, pre­pares to help O’s in new role as a re­serve

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS -

CLEVE­LAND — A day after the Ori­oles ac­quired Tim Beck­ham to fill their short­and long-term short­stop needs right at the July 31 non­waiver trade dead­line, man­ager Buck Showal­ter re­layed that he’d as­sured his in­cum­bent starter, J.J. Hardy, that “he’s play­ing short­stop” once his frac­tured wrist healed.

Much has changed since then, in­clud­ing Showal­ter’s own rec­ol­lec­tion of those re­marks, as on Fri­day he chal­lenged the no­tion he’d made them.

But the most sig­nif­i­cant change, if not the Ori­oles held to four hits in se­ries opener in Cleve­land as red-hot In­di­ans win 16th straight game most in­evitable one, was so­lid­i­fied Fri­day at Pro­gres­sive Field, when Hardy was ac­ti­vated from the 60-day dis­abled list and Beck­ham re­mained in the start­ing lineup, bat­ting lead­off and play­ing Hardy’s po­si­tion of short­stop.

As much as Hardy wants to play, he es­sen­tially en­dorsed the idea him­self.

“Amaz­ing,” Hardy said of Beck­ham. “Ab­so­lutely amaz­ing. We’ve played against him for the last few years and I’ve seen a lot of im­prove­ments, just play­ing against him, and for him to get the op­por­tu­nity to play ev­ery day at short­stop — what he’s done is pretty im­pres­sive.”

KEN­NETH K. LAM/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

Tim Beck­ham has com­mit­ted eight er­rors at short­stop since join­ing the Ori­oles, but he has be­come a force at the top of the lineup, hit­ting .359 with seven homers in his first 35 games.

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