"Then they gradually started coming out. I think they both recovered together. They both came out of it perfectly. Without each other, I don't know how that would have worked. I think 'J' saw that what Logan went through was a lot tougher than what he was going through. I believe that helped him a lot."Hardy was still hurting physically the following spring, but he was penciled in as the Brewers' Opening Day shortstop anyway. He was batting below .200 deep into July, and Brewers manager Ned Yost faced increasing pressure from above to ship Hardy back to the Minors. Yost stuck with his young shortstop, who rebounded to bat .308 after the All-Star break and finished with a .247 average. He headed into 2006 with a renewed confidence but then suffered another May injury, tearing up his ankle sliding into Phillies catcher Sal Fasano. Hardy later abandoned an attempt to rehab the injury and went under the knife for the second time in two years. Given his long injury history, no one saw Hardy's 2007 season coming. He was the team's player of the month for April, and was leading the Majors in home runs into May. The Hardys were watching back in Tucson. "We were just laughing," Mark Hardy said. "We would be sitting there in the living room watching the game and it was like, 'He just hit another one!' I had seen him go through streaks like that in Little League, Pony ball, where every third swing of the bat he would hit a home run. But in high school he wasn't that kind of hitter, so it was a shock to us to see him hit that many. "All of a sudden, there we were sitting in the stands at the All-Star Game. It was a fun year." Hardy was one of four Brewers on the National League All-Star squad, and despite a bit of a second-half swoon, he finished with a .277 average, 26 home runs and 80 RBIs. He has said that the good times were actually more unnerving than the bad, which did not surprise Yost. "Until you understand who you are, you just keep waiting for the goodness to end," Yost said, "instead of understanding that it doesn't end. You realize that the highs aren't so great and the lows aren't so low. You just play, keep it leveled out." Just as important to his statistical breakthrough was the fact Hardy played in 151 games. He's on track again this spring, though his preparations hit a snag in late January when Hardy threw out his back during a workout. It happened just as Hardy and the Brewers were working on contract terms, but he went through a battery of extra tests and was deemed healthy. He bought a Swedish foam bed and says it has made a difference. "There's nothing in the back of my head like last year, when I was coming off an injury," Hardy said. "I've felt pretty comfortable here for a couple of years now. I think it's going to be a good year."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.