PHOENIX -- Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy expected to be wearing a suit in Ft. Lauderdale on Monday. He was happy to be in uniform at Maryvale Baseball Park instead. Hardy and the Brewers faced an arbitration hearing scheduled for Monday, and for much of last week it appeared that's where the sides were headed. After making the National League All-Star team last season while earning $400,000, Hardy was seeking a $3.05 million salary in 2008, while the Brewers offered $2.4 million. Hardy, his agent Mike Seal and a number of Seal's associates were set to travel after rejecting what the Brewers called a final offer on Feb. 11. But on Friday, the Brewers upped their offer again. Hardy agreed to a $2.65 million salary.
"I thought we were going to a hearing," Hardy said. "We had until 12 o'clock last Monday to say yes or no, and if the answer was no, they would prepare for a hearing. We said no. But they came back again on Friday. "It wasn't fun. It was brutal, and it was going to get worse sitting through [a hearing], hearing them talk bad about me. I'm glad we got it done." Arbitration cases are presented to a three-member panel of judges, who listen to the merits of both arguments and then choose one salary or the other. Silver lining: Right-hander Yovani Gallardo was trying to stay upbeat about his scheduled knee surgery on Tuesday, and is holding out hope that he'll be in the rotation on Opening Day. "Better to get it out of the way early so it's not an issue during the season," Gallardo said. "I'll start rehabbing right way and hopefully get back into camp." Gallardo underwent an MRI scan on Saturday that revealed torn cartilage in his left knee. He injured the knee at the end of a bullpen session near his Texas home, saying he landed awkwardly after one delivery. The knee didn't get any better on a 14-hour drive to Phoenix. If all goes well, Gallardo will be back on the mound in four weeks. Assistant general manager Gord Ash labeled his chances for the opening week of the season "touch and go," but Gallardo is remaining optimistic. "That has been my goal from the beginning," he said of making the Opening Day roster. "The way I want to look at it is, I'm going to break camp with the team. That's why it's good to have the surgery now. I can still achieve my goal." It is a disappointing start for Gallardo after a breakthrough 2007. He went 8-3 with a 2.90 ERA in 13 starts for Triple-A Nashville at the start of the season, then went 9-5 in the Majors with a 3.67 ERA in 20 appearances, 17 of them starts. Gallardo, Ben Sheets and Jeff Suppan came to camp considered locks for the starting rotation. "I felt great the whole offseason," Gallardo said. "It just stinks that this happens the day before we get going here."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.