Our weekly look at one item tying together each of the Red Sox' AL East rivals examines the Blue Jays, who continue to play the waiting game with one of their top sluggers.
Last season was an extremely difficult one for Aaron Hill. Coming off a year in which he hit 36 home runs and drove in 108 runs, he had an injury in April and never could get it going after that, finishing with a .205 average and sharp reductions in every major category.
Hopes for a bounce-back campaign have hit a bit of a snag early on. Hill has yet to appear in a Grapefruit League game due to lingering tightness in his right quadriceps. The Toronto second baseman has been taking batting practice and is appearing in simulated games for new manager John Farrell, and the organization is planning a series of tests to make sure he is OK to play in a game. Until then, available at-bats are disappearing from the schedule every day.
With the departure of Vernon Wells, John Buck and Lyle Overbay, the Blue Jays lineup will be reworked quite a bit this year. Having Hill healthy and looking more like he did in 2009 is critical. Until he shakes off this nagging issue, that best-case scenario will remain only a dream.
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