Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Hardy clarifies comments, credits Vavra for his turnaround

Posted by: Phil Miller under Twins game coverage Updated: March 7, 2012 - 11:44 AM

SARASOTA, FLA. -- After a long talk with Twins hitting coach Joe Vavra near the batting cage today, Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy clarified his recent comments about the difference between the team’s hitting philosophies.

Hardy had said Rod Carew pulled him aside after his first round of batting practice with the Twins and told him to start using the whole field. He said the Orioles told him to go back to pulling the ball the way 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 the Orioles.

“I was talking to Joe about it right now," Hardy said, "and I said, ‘Listen, I hope nothing’s ever come out where I said anything bad or come out like it’s bad.’ Because like we were talking about -- 2010 was a year we were trying to bounce back from 2009, where I had a terrible swing and we worked with a lot of mechanical stuff, and once we kind of knocked that out in 2010, I come here [to the Orioles], and I think I would have done something similar [in 2011] compared to last year if I was still in Minnesota."

Hardy said when he tried to pull the ball at this time two years ago, he "stepped in the bucket."

“I was just trying to slow things down," he said. "I got into a lot of bad habits in ‘09, and credit to Joe, he got me out of a lot of those bad habits. And when I came here I was able to hit like I felt I did in ‘07 and ‘08.

“I don’t want to rip on the field there in Minnesota -- Camden’s a pretty good place to hit, and people know Minnesota’s not -- so who knows if I would have done that there, but I would have still been able to drive the ball.”

TWINS (3-2)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, 2B
3. Josh Willingham, RF
4. Aaron Bates, 1B
5. Brian Dinkelman, DH
6. Sean Burroughs, 3B
7. Ben Revere, LF
8. Drew Butera, C
9. Pedro Florimon, SS

Scheduled pitchers: Carl Pavano, Alex Burnett, Luis Perdomo, Jason Bulger, Jared Burton, Esmerling Vasquez, Daryl Thompson, Casey Fien.

ORIOLES (1-2)
1. Endy Chavez, RF
2. J.J. Hardy, SS
3. Adam Jones, CF
4. Chris Davis, 1B
5. Matt Wieters, C
6. Mark Reynolds, 3B
7. Wilson Betemit, DH
8. Nolan Reimold, LF
9. Robert Andino, 2B

Scheduled pitchers: Wei-Yin Chen, Armando Galarraga, Luis Ayala.

Ed Smith Stadium. First pitch: 12:05 p.m. No TV. No Radio.

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