Back in April, the New York Yankees signed left-handed reliever Tim Hardy after he was released by the Houston Astros. Since getting that second opportunity, Hardy has made the most of it as he looks at it as a second chance to show what he has:
“It was different. Getting released is never a good thing and getting picked back up is like you just got drafted again because you are getting to continue to play for your dreams. I like it here. There’s a lot different between the two organizations and the Yankees are where I need to be,” said Hardy.
With Short-Season Staten Island, Hardy has been dominating out of the bullpen. The 23-year-old lefty has yet to allow a run in his first seven appearances. Over the course of 12 innings, he has one save, allowed only two hits and has struck out 20 batters without surrendering a single walk.
On June 27 against the Hudson Valley Renegades, Hardy threw three perfect innings and struck out six batters, which was the second-most he has had in a single outing. After the game that night, he mentioned how regardless of what pitch to throws, he is going to have a mindset of attacking the zone:
“Just attacking the zone and knowing that I if I throw my pitch, I am going to throw my best pitch and going to attack it and whatever happens, happens. I have the mindset of attacking the zone and getting through it,” said Hardy about his approach on the mound.
As for how Hardy describes his pitch arsenal:
“I’m a big fastball heavy guy. I like to use it and I am not scared to use it. Then, I have a slider I am working with and getting better with it every day. I have a changeup I don’t throw as much, but I can throw it when I need it.”
Hardy’s fastball is around 91-93 miles-per-hour to go with the slider and changeup. Since extended spring training, the slider has been a pitch that he has worked on and there’s a difference in that pitch now, according to Staten Island pitching coach Travis Phelps:
“We just adjusted his grip a little bit, took away the slurviness, more curveball before, we made it a little harder and tighter. Just got him throwing it aggressive instead of trying to place it,” said Phelps about the adjustments to Hardy’s slider.
Hardy’s situation is unique because the 18th Round pick in 2017 by the Astros actually pitched against Staten Island last year when he was with the Tri-City Valleycats. Despite having seen him pitch against them last year, the organization makes their own evaluation once they see him pitch in extended spring:
“It’s a clean slate. We had him in extended spring, so we got a good look at him down there. We knew what he was about and what we wanted to do with him and some of the adjustments we wanted to make with him. He’s come here and done an outstanding job,” said Phelps.
Hardy got the chance to go to Tri-City with Staten Island in late June. While he didn’t get the chance to pitch in that series, he still got the chance to go back and see some of his teammates from a year ago.
“There’s a love-hate relationship with the Astros. There’s a few things I disagreed with but I love the guys and the coaching staff. It’s a great thing going back over there and seeing all the guys I’ve played with before. If I get a chance to pitch against them, I am going to attack the zone just like I do every time. It’s going to be no different.”
When he’s not playing the game, Hardy enjoys watching another Yankees’ left-hander in CC Sabathia. If he wasn’t in baseball, the left-hander also mentioned how he would want to give back to the people that helped him:
“Coaching. I like to give back. I got here because coaches coached me, so why not coach other people?” said Hardy.
Last year, Hardy did spend some time in Single-A when he was playing for Quad Cities. While he may be pitching at a level lower than where he should be due to the depth in the Yankees’ system, manager David Adams mentioned that the focus is still on achieving the dream regardless of where they are:
“They continue to stay focus on what they need to do regardless of what level they are at. They still have aspirations and dreams just like all these other guys. They are staying locked into that and they are not letting anything get in the way,” said Adams about Hardy and Bryan Blanton.
As long as Hardy is in the New York-Penn League, he has become one of the best relievers in the league. Time will tell as to whether or not he moves up when the trade deadline is over. However, while he’s in Staten Island, he continues to stay focused to accomplish his goals:
“Just keep up the pace, keep throwing strikes, keep improving my offspeed, and doing what I know how to do,” replied Hardy about his goals for the rest of the season.
Hardy has received his second opportunity in the Yankees organization and so far, he has definitely made the most of that chance in dominant fashion.