Hardy clarifies hitting comments comparing Orioles, Twins

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN and LA VELLE E. NEAL III , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 8, 2012 - 1:11 AM

J.J. Hardy said his year with the Twins helped him break a lot of bad habits he had fallen into with Milwaukee.

Drew Butera was forced out at second by former Twins teammate J.J. Hardy during the fifth inning of Wednesday's game in Sarasota, Fla. Earlier in the game, Butera drilled pitcher Carl Pavano in the left arm trying to throw out a baserunner.

Photo: David Goldman, AP

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SARASOTA, FLA. — Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy had a long talk with Twins hitting coach Joe Vavra before Wednesday's game and then clarified his recent comments about the differences between the teams' hitting philosophies.

Hardy recently said Rod Carew pulled him aside after his first round of batting practice for the Twins and emphasized going with the outside pitch to the opposite field. Hardy said that when he joined the Orioles they urged him to pull the ball more, as he did during his best years with the Brewers.

After hitting six home runs for the Twins in 2010, Hardy hit a career-high 30 homers last year for Baltimore. But as Hardy said, when he first came to the Twins, he was "stepping in the bucket," leaving him vulnerable to outside pitches.

"I got into a lot of bad habits in '09 [with Milwaukee], and credit to Joe, he got me out of a lot of those bad habits," Hardy said. "And when I came here [to the Orioles], I was able to hit like I felt I did in '07 and '08."

Said Vavra: "I don't have a bad word to say about J.J. Hardy at all. I enjoyed my time with him."

Draft prospect injured

Holding the No. 2 pick in this June's draft, the Twins had multiple scouts watching Tuesday when Los Angeles high school pitching phenom Lucas Giolito suffered a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

The 6-6 Giolito is hoping to avoid surgery but is expected to miss the rest of the season for Harvard-Westlake. He was widely viewed as a top-three pick, with some rating him above Stanford righthander Mark Appel.

Butera drills Pavano

Baltimore's Mark Reynolds stole second base in the second inning, and catcher Drew Butera's throw drilled pitcher Carl Pavano in the left arm.

Pavano crouched with his back to the plate but couldn't avoid the throw.

"I didn't know we were working on being the cut-off down to second," Pavano said. "I know we were here [practicing] three days early, but I wasn't included in that play. I must have been in the bathroom."

Etc.

• Nick Blackburn had four strikeouts in two scoreless innings, and Justin Morneau hit a double into the right field corner, but the Twins lost 4-1 to the Red Sox in a B game -- meaning no admission was charged -- in Fort Myers, Fla.

• Jason Bulger has allowed 12 of the 14 batters he's faced to reach base this spring, but Jared Burton, a similarly named righthanded relief candidate, has been just the opposite, retiring all six batters he's faced.

• Righthander Sam Deduno, signed as a minor league free agent, has yet to pitch in a game because of a sore hamstring.

On deck

Francisco Liriano pitches for the Twins on Thursday, when a Rays split squad visits Hammond Stadium. Morneau plans to start at first base, meaning he will be playing back-to-back games for the first time this spring.

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