Q&A with Twins shortstop J.J. Hardy


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If the Twins had tried to trade for J.J. Hardy following the 2008 season, it likely would have taken a king’s ransom. The Brewers shortstop followed up his All Star 2007 season by hitting .283/.343/.478 with 24 homeruns and 74 RBI in 2008. One year later however, his stock had fallen so far the Twins were able to acquire Hardy for reserve outfielder Carlos Gomez.

2009 was a nightmare for the 27-year-old. His batting average dropped 53 points, his power numbers fizzled and he spent the late summer toiling in Triple A. Now he’s playing for a new team with new stadium and looking for a fresh start. I caught up with Hardy as he prepared for Thursday’s 8-0 win over Boston.

DZ: You’ve been through spring training and about 10 days of the season, what are your impressions of things?

HARDY: It’s a great organization, a great team. (They) have a lot of fun, play the game right, it’s good; I am off to a good start.

DZ: Obviously you came over in a trade this year, where were you when you found out about the trade?

HARDY: I was at home; it was two days after the World Series ended. I was still in bed sleeping and got a call at like 8 or 9 o’clock Arizona time, it was the general manger for the Brewers. That’s when I got the news.

DZ: Were you surprised?

HARDY: Not at all. I expected to get traded, I knew I getting traded, (but) I didn’t know where I was going. When I got the call and was told it was the Twins, I was pretty excited.

DZ: Did you know any of the Twins players?

HARDY: Just from playing against them every year, we always played at least one or two series against them, so I knew a lot of them. I was friends with Joe (Mauer) and kind of knew some of the other guys.

DZ: Last season didn’t play out the way you would have liked; how good did it feel to hit that first homerun in Anaheim last week?

HARDY: It’s nice to get that out of the way. I didn’t hit any in spring training so it was a good feeling for me.

DZ: Is there anything you can take away from last season that is positive; something you learned?

HARDY: Have more fun, not be so hard on myself would be the main thing I think. It’s a year that I kind of want to forget and just move on and that’s kind of what I’ve done.

DZ: Do you think the biggest problem was that you were too hard on yourself?

HARDY: I was really hard on myself. I felt like I couldn’t do anything right. If I had a 2-for-4 day or a 1-for-3 day, which is pretty decent, it wasn’t good enough for me. I came to the ballpark in a bad mood the next day. I just kind of learned to not be so hard on myself.

DZ: You had a lot of success in the minors to get to the big leagues and then in the big leagues; was that the first time you’d ever struggled that much?

HARDY: No, I struggled before. I struggled for a full half my first half of the season my rookie year in ’05 – I think I hit a buck eighty-seven or something. There’s been times I’ve gotten off to slow starts and bounced back. Last year I just wasn’t able to bounce back from it.

DZ: You wore No. 7 in Milwaukee, you weren’t getting that number here; how did you come up with your new number?

HARDY: For me numbers aren’t too important. I don’t need a certain number, I was given 7 in Milwaukee, I didn’t ask for it. It’s just one of those things, I don’t need (7), I don’t care for it. 27 is a good number, I am happy with it, it doesn’t make a big difference to me.

DZ: One last thing, how would you compare this stadium to Miller Park, a relatively new stadium as well?

HARDY: The locker room, the training room, all of the stuff inside is pretty similar. I think I like this stadium a little bit more, it’s got a pretty nice view out there. It just seems clean and nice. As long as there are people in the stands, it’s fun.

DZ: When you went to the Metrodome before, was the visitor’s clubhouse the worst one in the league; worst one that you’ve seen anyway?

HARDY: There are a couple, I don’t want to name them, but yeah if there are three or four clubhouses that I’ve been in that was probably one of them that was maybe not as nice.

2 Responses to “Q&A with Twins shortstop J.J. Hardy”

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