PHOENIX -- Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy finally got his diagnosis. Then he finally got to play. Now, barring a setback, it appears Hardy will be healthy and ready to start on Opening Day. Hardy was diagnosed Tuesday with a bacterial infection by Dr. Carlton Richie and was cleared to play a Minor League game at Maryvale Baseball Park. He played five innings in the field and went 1-for-5 at the plate with a single and two strikeouts.
By sending him to the Minors game, the Brewers reserved the right to backdate an assignment on the disabled list, though that appears unlikely at this point. "It will be touch and go," general manager Doug Melvin said. "But I think there is more of a chance of him being able to go." Hardy has not played in a Major League game since March 17, just before coming down with what the Brewers originally believed was a bout of the flu. But the illness lingered and Hardy lost 10 pounds, so he was sent for a battery of medical tests. Richie told Hardy that he had ruled out the two most serious potential diagnoses. "It was like a six-day thing that made me lose 10 pounds, but besides that I'm fine," Hardy joked. "I feel much better now." Manager Ned Yost said Hardy would play again on Wednesday in Minor Legaue camp, then could play in the big league game Thursday against the Cubs. After that game, the team is scheduled to travel to Milwaukee for a pair of weekend exhibitions against the Royals.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.