J.J. Hardy was 1-for-22 for the spring heading into his second at-bat on Sunday against the Minnesota Twins.
Then he turned on a 91-mph fastball from Vance Worley and sent it over the left-field wall for his first home run in Grapefruit League action. He said he wasn’t worried about his poor start to the spring.
But a home run doesn’t hurt.
“It was definitely nice to put a barrel to a ball. I wasn’t really worried. We still have a few weeks left; I’ll get a few more at-bats,” Hardy said. “I wasn’t too worried about the first 25 [at-bats] or so, but that definitely felt good.”
Hardy said years ago he may have panicked with such a slow start, but not now, not at age 30.
“As long as I feel comfortable in the last week before the season starts, I’ll be fine. And the season’s not starting right now,” Hardy said. “In years past, I might have been pressing, but this year I realize the season starts April 2. I’ll be ready by then and anything before then is just working up to it.”
His manager, Buck Showalter, echoed those sentiments.
“I know he has had six line drives at people here. That’s great because you want that to happen down here,” Showalter said. “J.J.’s a very mature guy that understands where the finish line is here. And I’m fine with that. I trust him a lot.”
Hardy was bothered by right shoulder soreness throughout spring training last year and during part of last season. That, he said, is pretty much behind him now.
“It’s definitely better this year,” he said. “I dealt with a few little things this spring, but the shoulder is definitely better than last spring training. I’m doing little workouts, and everything’s getting better. Better than last year for sure.”Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun