Diamondback second baseman Aaron Hill is progressing slower than many, including GM Kevin Towers, expected, tweets Nick Piecoro. Hill suffered a fractured left hand on April 9 against the Pirates. Initial estimates had Hill missing 4-6 weeks which put him on track for a mid-May return, but Towers says even a late May return would be a best-case scenario for Hill.
Hill was off to a hot start, hitting .306 with two home runs in 42 plate appearances after slugging 26 homers in 2012. In his absence, the Diamondbacks have used Cliff Pennington, Josh Wilson, and Martin Prado at second base.
It has been evident throughout the playoffs that Astros second baseman José Altuve’s right knee is bothering him. Altuve battled a right knee issue in July, then banged it up again in Game 2 of the ALDS and it’s been a problem ever since.
Manager A.J. Hinch said that if it were the regular season, he wouldn’t put Altuve in the lineup. Per MLB.com’s Richard Justice, the full quote:
He’s hurt. And if it was any other time of the year, he wouldn’t be in the lineup or wouldn’t be playing. He’d probably be on the DL. … But he’s showing up every day in good spirits, ready to go, giving 100 percent of what he’s got. He should be commended.
Hinch also said of Altuve, “His teammates revere him. The production that he’s doing on one leg is pretty incredible. And he’s trying not to talk about it. And therefore I am.”
During the ALCS, Altuve has hit .250/.368/.313 in 16 at-bats. He has just one extra-base hit but he has racked up three singles and drawn three walks while scoring four runs. Hinch has had Marwin González start at second base Games 3 and 4 and is doing so again on Thursday night in Game 5.