The Brewers optioned J.J. Hardy to Triple A this morning and GM Doug Melvin tells Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the move isn't intended to put off the shortstop's free agency. If Hardy had stayed in the majors through this year and next, he would have become a free agent after the 2010 season.
That's still possible for Hardy, but it depends on how long he spends in the minors. If he's down on the farm for less than 20 days, he'll still get credit for a full season of service time. If he misses more than 20 days, he won't have enough service time to become a free agent until after the 2011 season.