Hill one of eight Jays on All-Star ballot
Infielder's been on tear to start '09 after missing most of '08
TORONTO -- Aaron Hill has shown the Blue Jays just what was missing from their lineup last season. Toronto's second baseman has stormed out of the gates this year, providing a much-needed spark out of the order's second spot to help lead a resurgent offense.
It has been a great early storyline for the Blue Jays, who lost Hill to a season-ending concussion last May. Now, nearly a year later, Hill has a chance to make some noise in voting for the American League All-Star team. The second baseman is one of eight Toronto players on the ballot for a starting role on the league's elite squad for the July 14 Midsummer Classic at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
Other Blue Jays players on the ballot include first baseman Lyle Overbay; shortstop Marco Scutaro; third baseman Scott Rolen; left fielder Travis Snider; center fielder Vernon Wells; right fielder Alex Rios; and catcher Rod Barajas. Due to the All-Star Game's National League venue, designated hitter Adam Lind is not listed, but fans can still write his name in as an outfielder.
"We'll see," Hill said. "When that time comes around, you're obviously going to get those teams that are going to get the majority of votes -- New York and Boston or whatever. But, hey, if you play the way we've been playing against these other teams, the fans are going to put these guys names in there. There are a bunch of guys who are doing their thing right now."
Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until July 2 at 11:59 p.m. ET. At Rogers Centre in Toronto, Blue Jays fans can begin voting inside the stadium on May 1 and can continue to cast ballots at the ballpark until June 23.
Starting rosters will be announced during the 2009 All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Chevrolet on TBS on July 5. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote at MLB.com.
And the voting doesn't end there. Fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet at the Midsummer Classic via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint MVP Vote at MLB.com.
The All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX and around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio play-by-play, while MLB.com will offer extensive online coverage.
The Blue Jays entered the season with plenty of question marks surrounding their offense. Hill has provided some early answers, wielding a hot bat and displaying strong defense in the field. With Hill healthy and back in the fold, Toronto's lineup has been given a lift and has been one of baseball's top groups in the early going.
Part of the reason the Jays have flourished at the plate is because of the presence of a pair of left-handed hitters in Lind and Snider. Lind has thrived as a DH and a part-time left fielder for Toronto, hitting out of the fifth spot of the order. Snider -- a candidate for the AL's Rookie of the Year Award at his current pace -- has been a powerful bat out of the ninth hole.
Hill, Lind and Snider would all be newcomers to the All-Star festivities. In fact, only three Toronto players have an All-Star appearance on their resume. Rolen was named to five NL All-Star teams before joining the Jays prior to last season, and Wells and Rios have each been named to two AL All-Star rosters in their time with Toronto.
"They're all All-Stars, for me," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. "But those are my guys."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.