Hill offering Blue Jays encouraging signs

Hill offering Blue Jays encouraging signs

Hill offering Blue Jays encouraging signs
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Aaron Hill appeared in a Minor League game on Thursday afternoon for the second consecutive day.

Hill started at designated hitter and was expected to receive four at-bats. It marks another step forward in his attempt to return from a right quadriceps injury.

The 28-year-old received clearance to appear in another game after he arrived at the Blue Jays' clubhouse feeling no ill effects from Wednesday's workout.

"He's clear to do all pregame and baseball activities," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "The one area that he's still guarded and going at a controlled pace is when he breaks out of the [batter's] box. I think there's some confidence growing internally there with him as he gets some repetition under his belt."

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Running out of the box has been the biggest test for Hill's leg, because it requires a quick burst of speed that puts a lot of stress on the quadriceps muscle. On Wednesday, he purposely started running at a relatively slow pace, but he will look to increase the intensity as he continues to progress.

Hill has continued going through fielding drills, and since he is now able to face live pitching, he should make a quick return once deemed ready.

"I think at the outset, we want to be sure that he comes out of the box without any restrictions," Farrell said. "And that will be the telltale sign, because all the baseball activity, all the infield work, all of that is still being done. We feel like as long as he doesn't have that reservation as strong in his mind, there won't be a hesitation to put him back into an 'A' game."

Last season, Hill hit .205 with 26 home runs and 68 RBIs in 138 games.