Hardy on his health, his slow start and his contract status

BOSTON - The temperature in Boston is supposed to climb into the mid-60s on Monday. And as the weather heats up, Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy hopes to do the same.

Hardy is 10-for-41 with no home runs and three RBIs heading into tonight's game against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. A career .219 hitter in March/April, he's grown somewhat accustomed to slow starts.

The spasms in Hardy's lower back have subsided, but he's still not completely healed.

"It sucks because this spring was probably my healthiest spring that I've had with my issues that I've had in the past with my knees and my shoulder hurting the last couple of years," said Hardy, who's hit 30, 22 and 25 home runs his first three seasons in Baltimore. "I've got those completely fixed and I was all excited about it, and then my back does this. It's still a little bit (sore), but it's getting better, so I think once the back gets better, once the weather starts heating up, I think I'll do the same.

"No spasms. I can't play with spasms. It's tightness, soreness. When it spasms, I think something gets out of line and I think it's still trying to get back. I don't know. I'm not a doctor. It's just what I feel like.

"I'm not back in line yet and I'm a little bit...it's still in the back of my head. But I think, like I said, once this is in the past and it starts heating up, I think I'll be able to swing a little bit better. Right now, I feel like I'm a little Punch and Judy."

Hardy can become a free agent this winter and he's not aware of any talks between his agent, Mike Seal, and Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette.

Duquette indicated over the winter that he wanted an extension in place by opening day, which leaves Hardy puzzled and wondering whether the Orioles had a change of heart.

"Nothing. There's been nothing," he said, no trace of anger in his voice. "My agent's here now and he hasn't said anything to me the last month or so. There's been no contact. Usually, he gives me the 'still nothing.' I think it's even past that now to where it's like, he doesn't even need to tell me."

Seal has no plans to meet with Duquette.

"He's here because his wife is running in the marathon, so he came out for this series to watch his wife run," Hardy said. "He normally does all the marathons and Iron Mans and stuff. I think he's just going to watch her this time."

Meanwhile, Hardy is going to wait for his back to completely heal and his bat to heat up, and for the Orioles to indicate a willingness to negotiate a new deal.

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