MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins shortstop J.J. Hardy still doesn't feel like he's rediscovered the swing that he had a couple years ago when he was an All-Star with the Brewers. But the good news is that Hardy thinks that he's close. "I feel like I was doing some things that were not helping my swing at all," Hardy said. "[Hitting coach] Joe Vavra picked up on them and we're really working on staying closed with my front side a lot more. I feel like these adjustments I've made have really been giving me a chance to do more with other pitches that I was not able to anything with before. I think my swing is starting to get pretty close to where I was." A bruised left wrist limited Hardy's playing time in the first half, as he played in just 45 games, which included 41 starts. But since returning from his second stint on the disabled list on July 3, Hardy has started to get in a groove at the plate.
Hardy batted .379 (11-for-29) with three doubles and three RBIs in his first eight games since his return. That raised his average from .217 to .246 on the season and Friday night, he delivered his first three-hit game of the season. It's been a good stretch for Hardy, but he hopes that it's the start of even better things to come. "I've taken a ton of bad swings starting last year," Hardy said. "I told Joe that I think when I come out of this year-and-a-half long slump, I'm going to be a 10 times better hitter than I ever was because I'm going to know what I'm doing vs. when I was younger and I just kind of did it. For me, it will be a good thing, but it's taken a long time." Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he knows how hard Hardy has worked on his swing recently. "He sat out for quite a while with injuries," Gardenhire said. "He's starting to get back into the swing of things and he's doing good."