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Is J.J. Hardy hurting the Twins by not going on the disabled list?

Yesterday, Twins shortstop J.J. Hardy had a cortisone shot in his injured left wrist. Hardy missed 17 games in May with the injury, and though the Star Tribune reported that an MRI exam on Tuesday showed no additional damage and that Hardy has switched to a new medication with positive results, he still hasn't been able to bat since last Thursday. He won't return to the regular lineup until at least this Thursday, either.

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While he's laid up, the Twins are trotting out an everyday lineup that includes rookie Danny Valencia at third base , mediocre utility man Matt Tolbert at second, and Nick Punto at shortstop, out of his regular position. Hardy's unable to do anything except pinch run and play short, which basically restricts him to running for Jim Thome after the slugger pinch-hits for Tolbert, Punto, or Valencia - making an already thin bench even thinner.

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I appreciate Hardy's willingness to gut it out and try to get back in the lineup, but even he admits that the shot might not work. He told Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune, " I'm hoping these five days and a cortisone shot will do it. If not, they mentioned wrapping it up for five to seven days and not moving it at all, just to give it a chance to heal." Given that the wrist has already cost him one trip to the disabled list, maybe it'd be better for him to go back on the shelf, get healed up, and let Trevor Plouffe or someone who can be a little more useful take his place for now.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.