Hardy: 'There's no hard feelings'

I just spoke to J.J. Hardy, who was traded to the Twins today in a move he saw coming.

“In the words of Prince Fielder, that’s just baseball,” Hardy said with a chuckle. “I definitely expected to get traded, but I had no idea where I was going to be traded to. I definitely thought the Twins were a possibility.”

The Brewers got speedy outfielder Carlos Gomez in the deal. Hardy didn’t see that one coming.

“I definitely thought I was going to get traded for a pitcher,” he said. “Still, I wasn’t real shocked when I got the call. I think knowing I was going to get traded from the day I got sent down [to the Minors, on Aug. 12] kind of helped me prepare for it. It’s been a few months now that I’ve known I would get traded, so it makes it easier.”

He spoke Friday morning with Twins GM Bill Smith and was to take part in a conference call with Minnesota reporters at noon CT.

“I don’t know a whole lot about that team, other than what I saw playing them twice a year for the last five years,” Hardy said. “That’s a good team and it’s a good opportunity for me. They have a new stadium. I feel like it’s a decent situation for me.”

The Twins will have Hardy for at least two more years thanks to the Brewers’ well-time demotion in August. Had they sent Hardy to Triple-A Nashville one day later, he would have amassed enough service time to qualify for a full year. Instead, he fell short, and thus will have to wait one extra year — until after the 2011 season — to test the free agent market.

“That still hurts a little bit,” Hardy said. “But bring traded, that’s baseball. I had a good five years in Milwaukee and I wouldn’t take anything back. They were the ones who gave me the opportunity to be in the big leagues and show what I can do. There’s no hard feelings.

“Milwaukee drafted me as a shortstop when a lot of teams didn’t want me as a shortstop. They wanted me as a pitcher. The Brewers were the team that brought me to the big leagues for the first time. So I definitely want to look at everything in a positive way. There are things I could look at in a negative way, but I don’t want to do that. That doesn’t serve anyone.”

Hardy was excited to reunite with Twins star Joe Mauer. They met in Hermosillo, Mexico when Hardy was 15 as part of a junior national team and played together a number of times. Hardy and Mauer were roommates during one tournament in Canada and also played together in Panama.

The Twins will work this winter on signing Mauer to a contract extension.

“I know they’re already working on it, and I’m excited about that,” Hardy said. “I really like him. We clicked right from the start.”


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