Prospect Q & A: John Hardy

Currently the starting shortstop in short-season Batavia, John Hardy was the Phillies' pick in the seventh round of the 2004 draft. A 22-year-old who played his college ball at the University of Arizona, Hardy hit .272-1-13 last year in his first pro season. Back with the Muckdogs after beginning the season in low-A Lakewood, Hardy is hitting .346-0-8 in 14 games. We caught up with John at LeLacheur Park in Lowell (MA) prior to last night's game.

On being related to Milwaukee Brewers shortstop JJ Hardy

"J.J. and I are first cousins.  Our dads are brothers, and both played on the pro tennis tour in the 1970s.  For J.J. and me it's been baseball, and we grew up together in Tucson until my family moved to Boise when I was ten.  But we're the same age, so we've remained close.  We hang out together in the offseason."

On following his cousin's progress

"I follow him as much as I can.  I've only had a chance to see JJ play once this season, in Tampa Bay, but I keep track of him on the internet, in USA Today, or on Sportscenter.  The other day he went 3-for-4, and I thought to myself, "Way to go, J.J."

On their similarities and career paths

"We both signed to go to the University of Arizona, but he was a second round pick and went pro instead.  I went the college route and was drafted last year.  People say we do a lot of things alike on the field, and that we even look alike.  But he's a big leaguer, and I'm not at that level yet.  That's a big difference."

On how his season has gone

"I started the year in low-A, but struggled and got sent down to the Gulf Coast League.  I was there for five days when someone got hurt, so they sent me back.  But when the guy got healthy, it was down to the GCL again.  Now I'm here in Batavia.  It's been a crazy year so far."

On his early struggles and his improvement in Batavia

"I actually hit some line drives early in the season, but they were always right at people.  Then I began to get frustrated, and started changing my swing to try to get going again.  But instead of helping, it got me into bad habits.  The coaches worked to get me back doing what I needed to do, and I finally have my confidence back to where it should be.  I'm hitting the ball pretty well right now."

On his defensive game

"It's been good.  Instructional League last year helped a lot.  I'm playing both second base and shortstop; probably more shortstop right now.  I think that's where my future is: somewhere up the middle.  Pretty much like J.J."

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