The Twins new shortstop, J.J. Hardy, spent his entire professional career with the Milwaukee Brewers organization, including most of the past five seasons in the majors. He was an All-star in 2007, when he had career highs in almost every offensive category, including 26 home runs and 80 runs batted in.
He had a similar season in 2008, but slumped during the 2009 season, and was eventually sent to the minors. During last offseason, he was traded to the Twins for speedy outfielder Carlos Gomez.
This Spring marks the Tucson, AZ natives first spring training outside of his home state. The Brewers hold their spring training in Arizona, but the Twins camp is in Ft. Myers, FL. But the change of scenery has been good for Hardy.
"It's been good, this teams been a lot of fun, it's exciting," Hardy said before a recent Twins game in Ft. Myers. "The whole spring for me has been a lot different for me in Florida, the last nine years I have been out in Arizona. So this is a big difference, but its been a lot of fun with this team."
After sixteen Twins pre-season games this year, Hardy has been in eight of them and is hitting .263, but has yet to hit his first extra base hit. He missed some time this spring with a strained quad muscle, but expects to be ready for the start of the season. His main desire this year is to help the Twins return to the playoffs.
"I don't like setting personal goals," J.J. explained. "I just want to go out and do anything I can to help the team win, help the team get back to the payoffs. That's really the only personal goal I've got."
With the recent signing of Joe Mauer and the new stadium, there is a level of excitement not just among the fans, but in the Twins clubhouse as well.
"I feel like with the new stadium, and a couple additions to this team, its exciting," Hardy said. "The fans are really pretty excited, we're definitely excited here in the clubhouse and we're really excited for the regular season to start."
The Twins final Ft. Myers spring training game is April 1st against the Red Sox. They will have their 2010 home opener at their new park on April 12th, also against the Red Sox.