Report: Hardy says Twins didn’t want him to pull

FOXSportsNorth.com will track reports from the news outlets already in Florida until March 4, when Tyler Mason will begin covering the team in Fort Myers. Here’s a look at Tuesday’s top story lines from camp:

Hardy more comfortable with Orioles: Some interesting sound bites came out of Sarasota, Fla., when former Twin J.J. Hardy noted that Baltimore’s approach to hitting fits him far better than Minnesota’s did in 2010.

Hardy was specifically referring to the Twins’ philosophy of using the whole field when hitting. The shortstop said the Orioles insisted that he instead try to drive the ball.

The result? Hardy hit a career-high 30 homers in Baltimore last season, earning him a three-year, $22.25 million contract extension.

“My first round of BP with the Twins, I was trying to (pull the ball),” Hardy told the Star-Tribune, “and Rod Carew and those guys call me over and say, ‘That’s not what we want. We want line drives the other way.’ So that was my approach with the Twins.”

Hardy indicated, however, that he wasn’t criticizing the Twins’ methods, considering they have helped Minnesota win six AL Central titles since 2002.

Early preview of the 2012 starters?: As reported by 1500 ESPN, the Twins broke up into three different fielding groups Monday, perhaps shedding some light on the team’s current depth chart.

The starting infield for the aforementioned drills included Justin Morneau (who hit .227 in limited action in 2011) at first base, Alexi Casilla (.260) at second, Jamey Carroll (.290 with the Dodgers) at shortstop, with Danny Valencia (.246) manning third.

The starting outfield consisted of Ben Revere (.267) in left field, Denard Span (.264) in center, and Josh Willingham (.246 with 29 HRs with the A’s) in left field.

Blackburn better: Starting right-handed pitcher Nick Blackburn has thrown a pair of live batting practice sessions recently, and he felt good doing it.

Blackburn told 1500 ESPN that his surgically repaired right forearm “feels really good.”

The righty, who went 7-10 with a 4.49 ERA last season, said he’s happy with the amount of movement on his pitches early in camp.