Injured hamstring lands Hill on 15-day DL
Second baseman will be eligible to return to lineup April 23
TORONTO -- Aaron Hill pleaded his case and the Blue Jays listened. In the end, Toronto decided that allowing its All-Star second baseman to play in Monday's home opener against the White Sox was not the proper course of action.
The Blue Jays placed Hill on the 15-day disabled list, giving him time to fully recover from a right hamstring issue that has kept him out of the lineup for much of the past week. Hill took part in fielding drills on Monday and attempted to talk the club out of disabling him, but he understood the team's final decision.
"It's not the way you want to start off," Hill said. "Like I told them, 'I know in the back of my mind, you guys are making the right decision,' even though I fought them on it. It is what it is. Obviously, I want to be out there, but now I'll sign some autographs."
Hill's stay on the disabled list is retroactive to Thursday, meaning the second baseman will be eligible to return to the lineup on April 23 for the opener of a three-game weekend series on the road against the Rays. To fill Hill's spot on the active roster, the Blue Jays purchased the contract of outfielder Jeremy Reed from Triple-A Las Vegas.
With Hill out for the opener, Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston gave the start at second base to veteran infielder John McDonald, who has started three of the past five games. Gaston said McDonald and utility man Mike McCoy will split the playing time at second while Hill is sidelined, adding that the Jays believe Hill will be able to return on time.
"Yeah," Gaston said, "because we thought he was really close to being back and maybe having a chance to play today. But, because it's still tight on him, we just don't want to take the chance. We just want it out of the way."
Hill said he will be back on April 23 if it's up to him.
"They said I'll be eligible in Tampa and that's when I'm going to be there," Hill said. "I'm not looking to be any longer than that. I'm going to be out there whether it's all better or 80 percent or whatever it is. I'll be out there."
Hill, 28, injured the hamstring when he landed awkwardly during a diving play in the ninth inning of the Blue Jays' season opener in Texas on April 5. Hill played through some discomfort on Wednesday and was then scratched from the lineup for a game against the Rangers on Thursday. In two games this season, Hill has gone just 1-for-8 at the plate.
The five games that Hill has missed this season match the number of games the second baseman sat out during the entirety of his All-Star 2009 campaign. In 158 games last season, Hill hit .286 with 36 home runs and 108 RBIs. Hill was limited to just 55 games in 2008 after suffering a serious concussion in May that cost him the rest of that season.
"The concussion was enough time off for the next three years," Hill said. "That's why I'm having a hard time taking these 10 days. It is what it is."
Obviously frustrated by the injury, Hill said he did not necessarily agree that he needed to be placed on the disabled list.
"No one is ever going to convince me of that," Hill said. "I know I can play. That's what I told them. That's the first thing I said: 'I know I can play.' But, the bottom line is it's not playing at a speed that I know would benefit myself or the team, especially the team. It is what it is.
"They'd rather just have me wait the 10-12 days -- whatever it is -- rather than just getting by and possibly doing something worse. I respect that. It's just hard when you want to get out there, especially so early in the season."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.