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100 Days, 100 Reasons to visit Target Field continues. Today with 99 days till the Opener Reason 99: J.J. Hardy arrives, Gomez Leaves
Sometimes a change of scenery does a body good. And I believe the first major move of this years winter meetings fits that bill. Carlos Gomez tried his best to fill the shoes of both fan favorites Torii Hunter (the Twins gold glove CF that left for free agency) and Johan Santana (the ace whom Gomez was traded for), but fan frustration built up and his .229 batting average became unacceptable. On November 6th, the Twins traded the talented, but very raw outfielder for J.J. Hardy a talented but often injured shortstop.
Funny thing is Hardy also had a career low .229 average in 2009. In fact, the Brewers demoted J.J. to the minors in August and his career seemed in turmoil. Far from promising 2007 year Hardy posted, when he was voted an All-Star and hit over 20 HR. "(2009 is) one of those seasons for me that I completely don't want to think about (it) anymore. I was happy when it ended," Hardy said. "It was just kind of a nightmare year for me."
A bit about Hardy, from Wikipedia. He was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers during the second round of the 2001 draft. In 2003 he played for the U.S. Olympic Qualifying team. But then injuries began to plague his career. Hardy suffered a dislocated shoulder and a torn labrum in 2004 in the minor leagues and sat out the year. In May 16, 2006, Hardy slid into Philadelphia Phillies catcher Sal Fasano at home plate trying to score and badly injured his ankle when Fasano attempted to block the plate. X-rays revealed a severe sprain of the ankle, and he was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Hardy recovered from the sprain, but constantly had trouble with an ankle tendon that kept popping in and out of place.
However J.J. bounced back in 2007 and 2008. He posted career best numbers. 26HR and 80 RBI in 2007 and 24HR 74 RBI in 2008. Those are the types of numbers that the Twins organization is hoping he will bounce back to for 2010. He is an exciting player that both Joe Mauer and Harmon Hillebrew like very much for the Twins. "What a neat kid," Killebrew said. "You're going to like him." "I talked to Bob Uecker about him, and he said he's a terrific kid but just had an off year," Killebrew said. A terrific kid we should be excited about for 2010 and the reason he is the 99th reason we should visit Target Field this coming year.
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