In his fourth year with the Arizona Diamondbacks, 32-year-old second baseman Aaron Hill was sitting with a .238 batting average two games before the All-Star break.
This was a guy who had consistently hit around .300 ever since he arrived in the Valley -- until this season, that is.
Since dropping to that unflattering mark just ahead of the Midsummer Classic, the 10-year veteran has begun to turn it around. After Tuesday night's 5-4 win over the Detroit Tigers, Hill has hit safely in seven straight games, a streak which includes four multi-hit games. After his 1-for-3 game Tuesday, Hill has his batting average up to .251.
If Hill really is the Diamondbacks' most enticing trade asset, as our fans said in an early July poll, he's been doing a lot to increase his value lately. He slowly appears to be catching fire, and manager Kirk Gibson elaborated Tuesday on the second baseman's recent performance.
"He's swung the bat better. He's taking what they're giving him," the skipper said. "They're throwing him on the outside part of the plate a lot, and his second hit last night [a seventh-inning single off Tigers reliever Al Alburquerque], he stayed on that pitch and stayed through it. So he's not pulling off the ball, and he isn't pressing as much."
In case his hitting streak seemed like a fluke, the career .272 hitter extended the feat in his first at-bat Tuesday, crushing a 2-0 Rick Porcello fastball about 10 rows deep to left for his eighth home run of the year. After David Peralta tripled in the third inning, Hill promptly sent him home with a sacrifice fly to right. Peralta again recorded a three-bagger in the sixth inning, and Hill followed with a groundout to the shortstop, which scored Peralta and gave the D-backs second baseman his third RBI of the evening.
Arizona emerged victorious in the contest 5-4, tying up the three-game series.
Hill is third on the team with 48 RBI this season, and he has 19 doubles and two triples to go along with his eight homers in 363 at-bats.