MESA, Ariz. -- Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy has been on the Pizza Hut diet. Don't try this at home, unless you're trying to pack on weight for the start of a Major League Baseball season.
"I've eaten two large pizzas in two days," Hardy said with a smile. "They're so worried about me putting weight back on, I have to do it somehow."
He was serious. And after Hardy played a few innings of Thursday's game against the Cubs, the finale of Milwaukee's Arizona schedule, he and the rest of the Brewers snacked on -- what else? -- pizza.
Before Thursday, Hardy had not played in a Cactus League game since March 16 because of a bacterial infection. He lost 10 pounds in the first two days of the illness and dropped from about 205 pounds all the way down to 189. But when he weighed in Thursday morning, Hardy was back up to 195, his playing weight for much of last season.
"I worked my tail off all offseason to put weight on, and then I lost all of it in two days," Hardy said between bites of pizza. "Now I feel normal, I feel strong."
On Tuesday and Wednesday in Minor League games, Hardy went 2-for-13 while leading off every inning. He went hitless in his first five at-bats on Wednesday, then felt something click.
Hardy went 2-for-2 against the Cubs on Thursday, including a two-run single. He said he's ready to start Monday's season opener in Chicago.
"My last three at-bats over there, I figured it out," Hardy said. "You learn from your outs."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.