Aaron Hill returned from a quadriceps injury to make his spring training debut yesterday, but afterward expressed some doubt about his status for Opening Day:
It was good to get out there and see what I’ve got. I can play but it’s going to be their decision. Hopefully it will be fine by then but it will be their decision if they want to go forward with me being at 80, 90 percent. It is better for the long run to not be stupid, I guess.
Mike Rutsey of the Toronto Sun reports that Hill “moved at half speed coming out of the box and three-quarters speed in the infield” during yesterday’s game, and he also went 0-for-3 at the plate.
Assuming he can get healthy relatively soon Hill is a good bet for a big bounceback season, as his dreadful .205 batting average was due largely to an unsustainably awful mark on balls in play and he still managed to smack 26 homers in 528 at-bats.
Out since the second game of the season with a hamstring injury, Aaron Hill is expected to return from the disabled list Friday against the Rays. Hill is skipping the usual minor league rehab assignment route, instead staying behind at the Blue Jays’ spring training complex to rehab in Florida.
Picked by many to finish last in the AL East, the Blue Jays have jumped out to a surprising 9-7 start despite being without Hill, who hit .286 with 36 homers and 108 RBIs last season to make his first All-Star team.
Toronto has predictably gotten terrible production from second base fill-ins John McDonald and Mike McCoy, but Vernon Wells, Alex Gonzalez, and the rest of the lineup have picked up the slack as the Blue Jays lead the league in both homers and doubles while ranking fifth in runs per game.
No word yet on who will be dropped from the 25-man roster to make room for Hill’s return, but third baseman Edwin Encarnacion has missed seven straight games with a shoulder injury and finally putting him on the DL would seemingly be an easy solution. Sending down McCoy is another option.
The AL East is down a second star second baseman after Aaron Hill was placed on the disabled list Monday because of a strained hamstring.
While Brian Roberts appeared DL bound from the moment he suffered a strained abdominal muscle, the Hill moves comes as a surprise. Expectations were that he’d be back early this week after hitting off a tee Sunday. Obviously, he didn’t feel nearly as well as hoped after arriving at the ballpark today.
With Hill sidelined, the Jays’ lack of depth will quickly become apparent. Long-time minor leaguer Mike McCoy and defensive specialist John McDonald are the fallbacks at second base.
If the team had a legitimate fourth outfielder, one could argue for putting Jose Bautista at second instead. However, that wouldn’t make any sense if it was just opening playing time for the newly recalled Jeremy Reed. McCoy figures to get most of the action for now.