SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — If he’s able to grip a golf club, Diamondbacks second baseman Aaron Hill certainly should have no problems squeezing a baseball bat.
And, he hasn’t.
Speaking this week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open Annexus Pro-Am, Hill said his left hand, which he broke early last season, feels great.
“I’m sure (the Diamondbacks and doctors will) want to take a CT scan or something before we get started (in spring training), but there’s no issues,” he said. “I’m not thinking about it. I’m not worried about it at all.”
Hill missed 62 games after getting hit by a pitch April 9 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He made two more appearances, pinch-hitting on back-to-back days April 13-14 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, before he was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Hill was diagnosed with a nonunion fracture in his hand, an injury that was slow to heal and ultimately sidelined him for 10 weeks.
The long layoff limited him to 87 games — the fewest he’s played since 2008; yet he still managed to hit .291 with 11 home runs (tied for third-most on the team) and 41 RBI.
Hill’s numbers will most definitely improve this season, obviously if he stays healthy; but also because of the potential of hitting behind Mark Trumbo, whom the Diamondbacks acquired from the Angels in the offseason.
“I think it was a huge move with Trumbo,” said Hill, who batted .302 with six home runs and 21 RBI over the final 44 games. “You know, guys are always going to be critics on whatever anyone does as far as the front office, but I think it was a great move. He’s a great power bat that’s going to give a lot of support to Goldy (Paul Goldschmidt) and let Goldy just do what he did last year and just be himself.”
The extended break last season has left Hill anxious to get this season underway.
Diamondbacks pitchers and catchers report next Thursday, with position players reporting five days later.
“It’s crazy how fast (the offseason) goes every year,” he said. “Obviously with the week or two early this year with the Australia trip, there’s a lot of guys showing up (at Salt River Fields). It always starts to get more and more exciting when you see the guys showing up. You start getting that feel back again. It’s already a great feeling in the locker room. The guys are looking forward to get going.”
Hill and the Diamondbacks will officially open the 2014 season with two games against their NL West rivals, the Dodgers, March 22-23 in Australia.
“It’s going to be great,” he said. “It’s going to be a long six, seven days, but — I wish we had more time to go experience what Australia is about over there, but it’s a business trip. We’re there to start 2-0 and (starts laughing) walk away with no brawls (laughs some more).”