The assumption when Diamondbacks second baseman Aaron Hill suffered a nonunion fracture in his left hand back in April was that he would require a surgical procedure over the offseason to fix it. But there was good news on that front Saturday.
According to Nick Piecoro and Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic, an MRI taken this weekend on Hill’s left hand showed considerable healing — so much so that the Diamondbacks medical staff has ruled out that planned offseason surgery.
“They said it’s like 80 percent healed,” Hill told the Republic on Saturday night. “In the last two months, it’s decided to heal. My last MRI, I think it was two months ago, nothing had changed. (Hand specialist Dr. Don Sheridan) called me yesterday and said, ‘You won’t believe this!’ … We didn’t want to do surgery anyway, and now this definitely confirms that we won’t.”
One of the more underrated hitters in all of Major League Baseball, Hill has batted .301/.362/.501 with 39 home runs, 20 stolen bases and 142 RBI in 275 games since joining the Diamondbacks in late 2011.
On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”
There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.
It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:
On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.
“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”
One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.
None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”