The former 35-home run man (2006 with Milwaukee) struggled through two terrible seasons with the Brewers and Seattle Mariners from 2008-09 before arriving in Boston.
As the Red Sox struggled out of the gate and offense became paramount, people wondered why Hall and his .595 OPS were still around. The answer then is what makes him valuable to this day: his ability to play all over the field.
Hall has played every position this year besides first base, third base and catcher — and will likely add the two former positions to his 2010 resume by season's end.
The ability for Hall to move around the diamond has been a weapon in manager Terry Francona's arsenal, and Hall even took the hill to help save the bullpen during Kansas City's drubbing of the hometown nine on May 30. Flashing an 89-mph fastball, Hall impressed in a 1-2-3 inning.
With early-season injuries to Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron, Hall has been playing a lot more outfield than initially envisioned, and he's handling it as well as his duties as backup infielder. He gives Boston its first true utilityman in years, and it's easy to see how such a player can be coveted.
And now, Hall is producing with the bat, making him one of the most valuable bench players in all of baseball. In May, Hall struggled to get hits (.220 batting average), but when he did, they tended to go a long way as he notched four home runs in the month (.460 slugging percentage). In June's early going, Hall is 5-for-7 with a home run.
While the Red Sox lost Thursday afternoon's game to the Athletics, Francona had nothing but good things to say about the offensive production, which Hall keyed in his 4-for-5 performance.
"There was offensively a lot of good things that happened," Francona said. "Billy Hall was right smack in the middle of it."
Hall, for his part, deflected praise for his production, instead choosing to focus on his responsibilities at the bottom of the order.
"The bottom of the order, we're gonna have to step up," Hall said. "[And] not put all the pressure on the hitters in the middle of the order]."
So far, Hall's stepped up in more ways than one: offensively, defensively and even as a pitcher. His continued production in the summer months will be important to how the Red Sox can weather current and future injuries.
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