Hill ecstatic to be a D-back
Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images
By Greg Dillard
Aaron Hill will always be fond of Toronto.
It’s the team that drafted him in the first round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft out of Louisiana State. After just three Minor League seasons, he broke into the Majors on May 20, 2005.
Hill spent seven memorable seasons in Toronto, ones that he will not soon forget.
“The city was great,” he said. “They embraced me and my family and took us in. It was a great time, a lot of memories. As Johnny Mac and I were talking about on the way over here, obviously there are a lot of memories, but this is such a great opportunity for us.”
Hill’s time in Toronto came to an end last week when he and veteran infielder John McDonald were traded to the D-backs in exchange for Kelly Johnson.
He played in 875 games as a Blue Jay while hitting .265 with 96 home runs and 409 RBI during that time. Hill’s banner season came in 2009 when he crushed 36 homers, 37 doubles and batted .286 en route to his first All-Star selection. His hot hitting also earned him the Silver Slugger award that season.
Now Hill is a D-back and joins a club that holds a three-game lead in the National League West standings, heading into Friday night’s matchup against the Padres.
With 31 games left in the regular season, Hill is now granted the opportunity to compete in a pennant race for the first time in his career.
“It’s been a blast,” Hill said. “Obviously, just the atmosphere, how the guys go about their business and have fun doing it. Being in a pennant race, obviously the main goal is to get into the playoffs and World Series. Everyone’s been great, and it’s been an easy transition.”
The transition has included a cross-country move from Canada to the Valley of the Sun. Since he joined his new team on the road, Hill is still trying to adjust.
“It’s a little bit of a mess,” Hill said. “But at the same time once you get to the ballpark, it’s business. You try to get everything situated from waiting for everything to get out of Canada and trying to get your family down here and trying to find out where to live. You want to make sure your family is set up first. So that’s my job in the next couple days – to go around looking, meet with people and get it figured out before they get down here.”
Regardless of the start of the D-backs’ six-game home stand Friday at Chase Field, Hill is no stranger to the Valley. Although he’s spent his entire career in the American League East, Hill and the Blue Jays visited Arizona last summer.
“It’s a great ballpark to come in and play as a visitor,” Hill said. “But now being a part of it at home, it’s going to be even more fun.”
For tickets to upcoming D-backs home games, check out http://atmlb.com/9PGYY1