J.J. Hardy will have to find a new lockermate and card playing buddy. Mark Reynolds has taken his act to Cleveland, and Hardy is sad about it.
Hardy and Reynolds were regulars in afternoon card games, and the now former Orioles first baseman capitalized on it by tossing cards in the air during the “I’m Glad You Came” video that was such a big hit.
Matt Wieters is Hardy’s other neighbor, and he played in the group, and so did Nick Markakis.
“I got a pretty good idea who is good enough to be in our group,” Hardy said on Tuesday at the Orioles annual Christmas party for children at Dave & Busters in Arundel Mills Mall near Baltimore.
Hardy was in town from Arizona, where it’s much warmer, but he was pleasantly surprised that the weather in Baltimore was as mild as it was. He was less pleased about Reynolds’ departure.
“He wanted to come back. The thing is I think he would have signed for less money to come back here. It will be interesting to see what happens. I think we’ll all miss him for sure,” Hardy said.
“There were a lot of teams showing interest in him. And I still thought there was a chance we’d get him back.”
Most of last season’s Orioles will be coming back, and that’s something appealing to Hardy.
“Oobviously it was a good group last year that did some pretty good things. We always look to improve and if not improve then stay the same. I feel like we’re right on track,” Hardy said.
Hardy began working out 10 days ago. With the off-season halfway over, he’s starting to think about what last year will mean come spring training.
“I think there will be some expectations but we had expectations for ourselves last spring training. We were able to stay focused and do what we wanted to do. I think that we always have expectations as a group in the clubhouse we all feel like we should be good and we hold ourselves to high standards,” Hardy said.
Wednesday will be two months since the last game of the Division Series. It doesn’t feel that long to Hardy.
“No, it feels like it’s been maybe three weeks. It really has been the quickest off-season for me. But I don’t know what that means. Maybe it’s a good thing,” Hardy said.