SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles' Grapefruit League games haven't even started, but J.J. Hardy has already flashed the home run power he displayed in full last season.
Hardy said he couldn't remember having hit a homer yet this spring, even in coaches' batting practice, but he took a fastball from right-hander Armando Galarraga over the left-field fence at Ed Smith Stadium on Saturday in the club's second intrasquad game. The shortstop erupted for 30 homers in 2011 despite hitting only 17 over the previous two seasons combined.
"Definitely a little bit of a surprise for me," Hardy said of Saturday's homer. "Obviously I'll take 'em, but I would definitely not even come close to saying I'm locked in. It's way too early for that. I don't want to be locked in yet."
Orioles manager Buck Showalter agreed, as he told Hardy, "Don't peak too early."
Hardy said he doesn't plan on changing his approach at all from last year, when he batted .269 with a .310 on-base percentage and .491 slugging percentage to go along with his 30 homers and 80 RBIs.
"Just having the confidence that that's what they want me to do makes it easier to swing through a pitch and not feel like everyone in the dugout is shaking their head like, 'What's he trying to do?'" Hardy said. "It just gives you that little bit of extra confidence that you can swing hard and try to drive the ball."