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Slumping Hill gets day off vs. Red Sox

Slumping Hill gets day off vs. Red Sox

BOSTON -- Before departing Toronto for the Blue Jays' current nine-game trip, second baseman Aaron Hill looked as though he was finally freeing himself of his season-long struggles at the plate. The road can be a cruel place.

Hill entered Sunday stuck in an 0-for-13 skid in the batter's box, and his showing throughout the stops in Anaheim, Oakland and Boston has been rough as a whole. Manager Cito Gaston said Hill's offensive woes stem from poor pitch selection, which has been an issue all year for the second baseman.

"We've been talking about getting pitches he can handle," Gaston said on Sunday. "Stop hitting their pitches. That's all. Be ready to hit the pitch that you want to hit. That's pretty much what hitting is about."

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Gaston believes that players can sometimes get overloaded with information about what pitchers are throwing and how they plan on approaching each hitter. Gaston said he believes his batters -- Hill included -- need to focus more on how they plan on attacking the pitchers.

"It's back to you and what you want to do and what you want to hit," Gaston said. "That's what you really should key on. Every hitter should be that way, but we have so much information these days that I think sometimes that gets lost in there.

"They're sucking up the information. I don't care what [the pitcher] has. I'm going to think about what I want to do."

On the current road trip, Hill has gone 5-for-30 at the plate, with no home runs and three RBIs. That drought follows a 26-game stretch during which the second baseman hit at a .287 clip, with seven homers and 15 RBIs. Overall, Hill is hitting .210 with 18 home runs and 48 RBIs in 103 games this season.

Hill's showing is a drastic contrast to his performance in 2009, when he was named an American League All-Star and took home an AL Silver Slugger Award as well as the league's Comeback Player of the Year honor. He did so by hitting .286 with 36 homers and 108 RBIs.

Gaston said a major difference between this season and last year for Hill is the way opposing pitchers have approached the second baseman.

"They're pitching him different," Gaston said. "They're going to try to figure out a way to get you out. We do the same thing here. If a guy is killing us, we're going to try to find a different way to get him out if we can.

"They're pitching him away mostly, instead of coming in on him. They're trying to get him out with breaking balls, too."

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