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Weeks says he'll 'hurt' without Hardy

PHOENIX (AP) — Rickie Weeks is eager to resume his career, but he's not exactly looking forward to opening day.

When the Brewers second baseman trots out to his position in his first game since tearing the sheath of a tendon in his left wrist in May, his double-play partner at shortstop, J.J. Hardy, won't be there.

"I'm going to hurt a little bit because he was my guy for three, four years," Weeks said. "Me and him, we developed a close bond."

Hardy was traded in the offseason to the Twins for center fielder Carlos Gomez in a move that made way for Alcides Escobar.

Weeks' sadness has nothing to do with Escobar and his potential. In fact, Weeks has already given the rookie shortstop the nickname "Paco" and the new duo turned a slick double play against the Cubs on Friday.

Nearly 1,900 miles away in camp in Fort Myers, Fla., Hardy feels the same way about Weeks, but is sure his former teammates will excel.

"Rickie and I became really, really good friends over the last five years," Hardy said. "It's a game, and everyone moves on. Rickie will be fine. Escobar will be great over there at shortstop. He'll be great.

"But yeah, more than anything, I'm going to miss being around him. He's a good guy, and we had fun."

Hardy's departure is the latest from the young, talented core of Brewers who were drafted and came up through the minors together with varying levels of success. Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Corey Hart and Hardy all turned into All-Stars and reached the postseason in 2008. Starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo seemed poised to become the staff ace.

But Hardy struggled at the plate last year and he and third baseman Bill Hall are no longer with the Brewers, though Milwaukee is still paying most of the $8.4 million left on Hall's deal.

"I don't care who you are, how good you are, it's a business. Somebody's going to move at some point in time. You kind of have that in the back of your mind already," Weeks said. "There's not too many people who stay with the same team all their lives right now. So, you know it's going to come at some point and it's going to hurt a little bit."

So far for Weeks, all the pain in his career has come from injuries.

Weeks had a similar tear in his other wrist before getting hurt swinging the bat in a game against the Cardinals on May 17. He had season-ending surgery, but began hitting again just after the season.

"They told me the first of November that I could start hitting, so I started hitting on November 1," Weeks said. "Everything's full go since November so I've been doing everything."

Brewers manager Ken Macha said Weeks is being aggressive as ever.

"There appears to be no side effects of what happened," Macha said. "He's had some check swings where he's gotten through it OK. So I think his mind is free that he's able to let it rip."

Weeks has been oft-injured, and he said simply about last season that "it wasn't fun" being injured after the strongest start in his career.

"The big thing was not being there for my team. I guess we didn't finish like we wanted to finish last year, things like that," he said. "I just hated the fact that I was sitting on the bench and watching the team play. I just wanted to be out there, for the guys."

The club traded for Felipe Lopez to help fill the void, but declined to offer Lopez salary arbitration this offseason. Weeks is glad he's got the organization's confidence and says he doesn't think about the injuries that have cost him parts of the last four seasons.

"I'm confident in myself, too," Weeks said. "I'm the type person, what's done is done, keep looking forward."