Welcome to Minnesota, J.J. Hardy

As you’ve now all read, the Twins filled one of their biggest offseason holes this morning by acquiring shortstop J.J. Hardy from the Brewers in exchange for outfielder Carlos Gomez.

We got a chance to speak with Hardy on a conference call this afternoon and I thought I’d share with you his thoughts — some of which didn’t get into my story.

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What were your initial thoughts on the trade?

“I feel like it’s actually going to work out good for both teams,
both organizations. Obviously the Twins had two center fielders, the
Brewers had two shortstops, and they both needed the opposite.

“For me, I’m excited about the trade. I definitely knew I was going
to get traded from the day they did send me down [to Triple-A Nashville
in August]. I felt like that was their plan, I didn’t know who [I’d get traded] to, but once I got the call this morning I was pretty
excited about it. I think the change of scenery will be good for me.”

How do you describe what happened last season (when he batted .229 w/ 11 HRs) ?

“I don’t want to think about anymore. It’s over, I was happy when it
ended. It was just kind of a nightmare year for me. Even when I was up
there, I wasn’t at a level I wanted to perform at, and then when I got
sent down, it just made things worse.

Can you pinpoint when things went wrong?

“I got off to a really slow start. I feel like there’s been several
years now that I’ve gotten off to a slow start and be able to bounce
out of it. This year was different for me, I just feel like I never
could really get comfortable, and it just kind of snowballed from the
first month that was not good.”

What is that gives him confidence looking ahead to 2010?

“I don’t think the change in the teams is going to be that big of a
deal, I don’t think the change in leagues is going to be that big of a
deal for me. I told myself come probably May, when I was still
struggling and when I got sent down in August, that all that I needed
was for the season to end and I’ll be normal again. Every year, I go
about the same thing in the offseason, I come to spring training and I
feel ready to go, and I feel that’s what’s going to happen next year.”

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