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J.J. Hardy Back In July?

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From the post-game notes over at the Strib.

Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said SS J.J. Hardy, on the disabled wrist with a bruised left wrist, could start taking batting practice with the team Monday, then go out on a rehab assignment later in the week that might last three or four days. Gardenhire pointed to a series in Toronto that begins July 6 as a potential return date for Hardy.

A return on or around July 6 would mean that Hardy will miss about two months while on his current DL stint.

Oddly enough, while Hardy has hit just .217/.265/.333 for the Twins it's his defense that makes the biggest impact on the game.  Nick Punto's .260/.337/.337 line is a bit more impressive, but with a -11 UZR/150 his range is a little exposed.  Hardy's UZR/150 was one of the league's best:  +31.2.

While Hardy's return is still roughly two weeks away, at the minimum, it does ensure that Danny Valencia will have a few more opportunities to prove to Gardy and the front office that he belongs with the big league team.  In 110 innings a third, Valencia's defense grades out well (and oddly enough, Punto's defense grades out much better here as well), and in spite of providing no power and not taking many walks he's still been a better offensive presence from the hot corner than anybody else on the roster.

I'm still hoping Valencia gets the nod when Hardy returns.

Be sure to check back later, as Trevour should have his next Sunday funny up to distract you from today's game.