Boston Red Sox: Bill Hall

Sox-Orioles: Postgame notes

September, 21, 2010
9/21/10
12:31
AM ET
Daisuke Matsuzaka did not pitch badly Monday night, but walks hurt the right-hander, who was saddled with the 4-2 loss when Daniel Bard allowed two inherited runners to score in the seventh, snapping a 2-2 deadlock.

Dice-K walked five, and two of those base runners ended up scoring.

“Walks have a way of coming around to score,” said manager Terry Francona. “Not all the time, but even if they don’t score they force you to pitch out of the stretch and make it a lot more difficult inning.”

With the game tied at 2-2, Dice-K’s final walk was to Brian Roberts with one out in the seventh. And when Nick Markakis went with an outside pitch and drilled a double into the left-field corner, Francona called in Bard.

Francona was hoping for a strikeout from Bard, but Ty Wigginton hit a fly ball to center, delivering Roberts on the sacrifice fly that put the Orioles on top, 3-2. A hanging slider from Bard was then smacked into right by Luke Scott, giving Baltimore a two-run cushion.

The loss dropped Matsuzaka’s record to 9-6. He has given up at least four earned runs in seven straight starts, going 1-3 with a 6.91 earned-run average over that stretch.

Hall helps keep it close

Bill Hall, playing left field, had two assists, keeping Baltimore from opening up a bigger lead early on.

In the third inning, Hall gunned down Roberts trying to score from second on Scott’s two-out single. In the fourth, after retrieving an errant throw from first baseman Victor Martinez on a potential force-out at second, Hall threw out Felix Pie trying to advance from first to third on the error.

“On the first one I kind of cheated in a little bit,” said Hall, who also drove in one of the Red Sox runs on a single in the sixth that tied the game at 2-2.

“The wind was blowing in, so I knew if the ball was hit over my head I’d still be able to get it,” said Hall. “I got the ball, got a good four-seam grip for the first time in a long time and the ball carried [to the plate] the way I wanted it to.”

Hall’s throw was in plenty of time for the out, with catcher Jason Varitek blocking the plate and slapping the tag on Roberts.

His second assist came in part from his hustle. Hall got into position to back up Martinez’ throw, scooped up the bouncing ball and threw to third baseman Adrian Beltre, getting Pie with plenty of time to spare, short-circuiting what could have been a big inning.

Hall became the third Red Sox outfielder to rack up two assists in one game, joining Darnell McDonald (May 8 against the Yankees) and Mike Cameron (April 21 at Oakland).

V-Mart stays hot; Beltre's streak ends

Martinez went 3 for 4, extending his home hitting streak to 12 games. It was Martinez’ seventh multi-hit game in his last 12 ... Beltre’s hitting streak was snapped at nine games ... Hideki Okajima worked a spotless eighth, with the Orioles failing to get the ball out of the infield. He stretched his scoreless streak to 9 1/3 innings ... The Red Sox fell to 8-8 against the last-place Orioles, who have won only 60 games this year. Baltimore has improved under manager Buck Showalter, though, recording a 28-17 record since he took over.

Hall pass: First walk in more than five weeks

September, 5, 2010
9/05/10
10:26
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Bill Hall walked in his first plate appearance Sunday, his first walk since July 28, a span of 85 plate appearances.

Coincidentally, he walked against one of the best control pitchers in the game, White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle, who has walked an average of 2.2 batters per nine innings.

Hall's last walk came on July 28, when he drew a base on balls in each of his last two plate appearances in a game in Anaheim.

Hall's walkless streak lasted 26 games, well short of the 46 games that Shea Hillenbrand went without a walk in 2002. That's the longest such streak for a Sox nonpitcher since 1920, according to Baseball-Reference.com

Notes: Ortiz a triple threat

August, 22, 2010
8/22/10
10:06
PM ET
BOSTON -- When David Ortiz crushed a pitch to the gap in left-center leading off the fifth, he motored around the bases.

And by the time he was done, punctuating his dash with a slide into third base, Ortiz not only had the Sox’ first hit of the game, he had hit first triple of the year.

Believe it or not, Ortiz, all 6-foot-4, 230 pounds of him (so says the media guide) thus became only the third active player with at least one triple in each of his last 11 years in the American League, joining Johnny Damon and Carlos Guillen. It was Ortiz's 15th career triple.

“I’ve got speed,” Ortiz said with a smile. “I’m a speed killer.”

Ortiz was asked if he was winded by the time he got to third.

“I was fine,” he said, still smiling. “I’m an athlete, man.”

Scare for Martinez

There was immediate concern in the Boston dugout when catcher Victor Martinez was struck on his mitt by Jose Bautista on a third-inning strikeout.

Manager Terry Francona and a trainer came out to check on Martinez, who spent time on the disabled list because of a broken left thumb, the thumb inside the catcher’s mitt.

Martinez was down for a while, but it turned out all right for the catcher and the Red Sox.

“[The bat] hit him on the back of his hand,” said Francona. “I know it hurt. It took a little time for him to shake it off.”

But at least it wasn’t the thumb. Martinez stayed in the game and contributed a run-scoring single in the Sox’ two-run eighth that put away the game.

All Hall

Bill Hall owns Toronto’s Shaun Marcum.

And while it’s a small sample, it’s very loud sample.

Hall entered Sunday’s game boasting two hits in two at-bats against the Jays right-hander. Those two hits were home runs, smacked in Toronto on Aug. 11.

On Sunday, after hitting a weak tapper in front of the plate in his first at-bat, Hall again took Marcum deep, launching a two-run homer over the Green Monster, giving the Red Sox a 3-0 lead in the fifth inning. So he’s now 3-for-4 with three homers and five RBIs in his career against Marcum.

The homer was Hall’s 17th of the year. He has four homers and eight RBIs in his last nine games.

Rain on the brain

The rain and forecasts of imminent rain caused manager Terry Francona to alter his pitching plans.

Thinking that more rain might bring another delay and possibly even end the game, Francona had Daniel Bard get up in the bullpen in the sixth inning. Generally Bard will get in the game in the eighth, though Francona did call on him for the seventh and eighth innings in Saturday’s win over the Jays.

Starter Clay Buchholz got out of a jam in the sixth, but since Bard already had gotten warm, and there were forecasts that more rain was on the way, Francona put him in the game in the seventh. Bard responded with a scoreless inning -- two whiffs and a walk -- but that was all for him, especially since he had worked the night before.

Felix Doubront blanked Toronto in the eighth, and when Boston pushed across two more runs in the bottom of the inning, closer Jonathan Papelbon, who had been warming up in preparation for a save opportunity, sat back down. Doubront finished the game for his second big-league save.

Hurry up and wait

The two rain delays totaled 2:43. The time of the game was 2:45 . . . Jed Lowrie’s career-best hitting streak was snapped at nine games . . . Kevin Cash went 1-for-4 with a double for Lowell in catching seven innings in a rehab appearance.

Lowrie, Hall to get some work at first base

August, 22, 2010
8/22/10
12:37
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BOSTON -- Jed Lowrie and even Bill Hall will get more work at first base, emphasizing the Red Sox's versatility.

Mike Lowell is the primary first baseman, but manager Terry Francona doesn’t want to run the veteran infielder into the ground, so he has had Lowrie and Hall taking grounders at first. Lowrie, who also has experience at second, short and third, already has played the position. Hall has begun taking grounders at first.

Injuries, of course, have played a major role in forcing the Red Sox to become creative with their lineup, but thanks in part to the versatility on the roster, Boston still has legitimate designs on a postseason berth.

“One thing we have going for us is we have guys who can move around. They are able and willing. That has really helped us,” Francona said.

One at a time for Bard

Daniel Bard worked two innings in Saturday night’s win against Toronto, tying his season high.

Don’t expect the Red Sox to extend him to two innings very often. The team is trying to be careful to limit the 25-year-old right-hander’s innings, and Saturday night’s outing boosted his total to 56 2/3 innings. It was his 55th appearance, the sixth-most in the American League.

But Francona said that if the Red Sox need to use Bard for more than an inning to help win a game down the stretch, they will do so.

“We try to monitor guys all year so when we get to this point in the season, they can do what we need them to do,” Francona said. “We don’t want to hurt anybody. We want to pitch guys who are getting guys out without hurting them.”

Bard had a very efficient two-inning appearance against the Jays, needing only 13 pitches to record the six outs.

Quick hits: Sox 10, Blue Jays 1

August, 11, 2010
8/11/10
10:22
PM ET
TORONTO -- Quick hits from Red Sox 10, Jays 1:

The race: The Sox gained a game on the Rays in the wild-card race and had a chance to pick up ground on the first-place Yankees as well until New York rallied from a 6-1 deficit to beat Texas 7-6. The second-place Rays lost 3-2 in Detroit and are only 3 games ahead of the Sox. Boston remains five behind the Yankees. Games left: 47

No passing the Buck: Clay Buchholz allowed an unearned run in the first inning (Mike Lowell fielding error, sacrifice bunt, passed ball, sacrifice fly) and nothing more, checking the Jays on five singles over eight innings. Only one other Jays baserunner advanced as far as second against Buchholz, now 13-5, his ERA down to a league-low 2.49.

"Can't go out there scared of getting home runs hit off you,'' Buchholz said. "Nibbled a little bit there in the beginning, got back to establishing each pitch. Got a key double play early, defense made good plays.''

Buchholz averaged 94 miles an hour, topping out at 97. He was averaging 95 at the end of the game, when he finished with 109 pitches.

"Some days are different than others,'' he said. "Some days you go out trying to throw hard, and the ball comes out of your hand better than other days. This was one of those days my arm felt good, my body felt good.''

Supersub power: With two home runs Tuesday night, which gave him a McGwire-esque seven in a span of 48 at-bats, Bill Hall now has 15 home runs this season, the fourth most on the Red Sox (behind David Ortiz's 24, Adrian Beltre's 21, and Kevin Youkilis' 19).

Hall has 234 at-bats in the team’s first 115 games. At this rate, he would finish with 21 home runs in 330 at-bats, which would place him in rare company in Red Sox history. Only one player in Sox history has finished a season with more home runs in 350 or fewer at-bats. His name? Ted Williams. The Splinter hit 29 as a 41-year-old in 1960, his last season in the big leagues, when he played in 113 games and had 310 at-bats.

"He hit 29 home runs in 300 at-bats?'' Hall said when informed of Williams' feat. "What a player, What a player.''

If Hall didn’t hit another home run the rest of the season, only two other players would have hit more home runs in fewer than 350 at-bats. First baseman-outfielder Dick Gernert hit 16 in 306 at-bats in 1956, and DH Don Baylor hit 16 in 339 at-bats in 1987.

One player hit 15: Bernie Carbo in 1975, a number that does not, of course, include his epic game-tying home run in Game 6 of the World Series that season.

Cranking in Canada: With four home runs Wednesday in four innings-plus against Blue Jays starter Shawn Marcum, the Sox beat the Jays at their own game. The Jays began the night with a major league-leading 178 home runs, 29 more than the runner-up Red Sox.

J.D. Drew hit his second in two nights to open the fifth and Beltre hit a three-run homer to KO Marcum later in the inning.

In two games here, the Sox have had 13 extra-base hits, including six home runs. This was the ninth time this season the Sox have hit four or more home runs in a game this season. They hit five twice, in an 11-9 loss to the Yankees in the Bronx on May 17, and in an 8-3 win over the Royals at home on April 10.

He’s official: Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, wearing No. 39, made his Sox debut, replacing Victor Martinez behind the plate in the bottom of the eighth. Saltalamacchia was called up earlier in the day, with Kevin Cash placed on the disabled list with what can safely be termed a mild strain of the left hamstring.
BALTIMORE -- For the past week, Red Sox players have been talking history.

They knew at some point when they faced a left-handed pitcher that Red Sox manager Terry Francona would pencil Bill Hall, Mike Cameron and Darnell McDonald into the lineup as the starting outfielders.

That’s the case today against the Orioles and Cameron thought he would be a part of the first all African-American starting outfield for Boston. That’s not the case.

Fellow Red Sox beat writer Alex Speier of WEEI.com did some research and found that it last occurred on April 20, 2001 with Troy O’Leary, Carl Everett and Darren Lewis. It also happened a bunch of times in the late '90s.

According to ESPN stats and research department’s Keith Hawkins, there were 42 games during the 1999 season where O’Leary, Lewis and Damon Buford started in the outfield. In 2000, O’Leary, Everett and Lewis started 28 games together.

Hall: 'Just go out and be Big Papi'

May, 20, 2010
5/20/10
3:42
PM ET
BOSTON -- So, Bill Hall was asked, do you think a speed burner like David Ortiz regretted having his triple taken away from him Wednesday night, umpires deciding it was a home run after reviewing replays?

“When was his last one?’ Hall asked, playing along.

Told that Ortiz hit one last season, Hall said, “He’s got more than me. I don’t think I got one in four years. Pull up at second. They pay us for doubles.

“Just kidding. But actually, I haven’t had one in a really long time. I can’t remember the last one.’’

The story would have been better if it was true. Hall’s memory was a little faulty. Actually he did hit one last season, last Sept. 13 in Texas while playing for Seattle, and hit another one in ’08. But in total number of triples, Ortiz is actually pretty close. The Sox slugger has 14 in all, and came into this season with a streak of at least one triple in each season since 2000. Hall, meanwhile, has 18, including a career-high 6 in 2005.

“I think he’ll take the home run,’’ Hall said. “Extra RBI, adds to the slugging percentage. I’m sure he’s pretty happy about it. David has been swinging the bat really well.’’

Indeed.

Ortiz has raised his batting average more than 100 percentage points since the beginning of the month, from the .143 he was batting in April to .248 entering Thursday’s game against the Minnesota Twins.

In the first 14 games of May, he is batting .358 (19 for 53), with 7 home runs and 17 RBIs. He is slugging .774 for the month.

“He’s going to be huge for us, if we can keep him swinging the bat like this,’’ Hall said. “We’re going to get right where we need to be, and he’s going to be in the center of that. He’s going to come up in a lot of situations where we’ll need him to be big, and obviously the last couple of weeks he’s been doing that, giving us a chance to win games. He’s like, hitting a home run every other day.

“I’m happy for him. Obviously, he got off to a rough start, the pressure was put on him. But look at everybody’s stats. The proven guys’ stats are always there at the end of the year.

“We kept confidence in David, we tried to keep him as confident as possible and let him know he’s Big Papi. Just go out and be Big Papi. That’s what he’s doing now.’’

Hall was pressed into service Wednesday night as shortstop when Marco Scutaro was administered a cortisone shot for an inflamed left elbow. He responded by turning a double play on Joe Mauer’s hard-hit liner in the first, doubling Orlando Hudson off first base.

“I caught Orlando sleeping a little bit,’’ he said. “I made the strong throw, got the double play and got us out of the first. [Clay Buchholz] went to rolling after that.’’

Hall also singled in what proved to be the winning run in the sixth, when Adrian Beltre, Jeremy Hermida and Hall all delivered base hits with two out.

“Adrian grinded out good at-bats and got a base hit, Jeremy did the same thing, and (Twins pitcher Scott Baker) probably wishes he could take back the pitch he threw me,’’ Hall said. “But I grinded out a good at-bat, got a hit, and it scored a big run for us.

“We do have a home run hitting ballclub, but when we can get three singles in a row and score a run, that’s going to make the team that much better.’’

The start at short was only Hall’s second of the season. His other start came on the season’s first weekend in Kansas City. With lefty Liriano pitching for the Twins Thursday, he was back in the outfield, with Angel Sanchez, just called up from Pawtucket, playing short while Scutaro recovers from his shot.

“I feel comfortable,’’ Hall said of playing short, where he has not played regularly since 2006. “It’s a position I played my whole life. We didn’t get to take any ground balls today (because of the rain), but I get in my work all the time.

“It’s a little more difficult because of the platoon situation with Jeremy in left field, but I still make sure I get my ground balls and stay ready, because obviously you never know what will happen. I know my job is to go in there and not hurt us on defense.’’

Quick hits: Red Sox 4, Orioles 3

April, 23, 2010
4/23/10
11:32
PM ET


BOSTON -- Some quick hits on Red Sox 4, Orioles 3:

-- The Red Sox, after losing a 3-0 lead, scored the winning run in the eighth inning on a bases-loaded walk to Adrian Beltre, who walked only 19 times in 477 plate appearances last season but walked twice Friday night.

-- Jonathan Papelbon recorded his fourth save, the game ending on a strikeout of former Sox shortstop Julio Lugo while the crowd derisively chanted his name.

-- David Ortiz, back in the lineup as Red Sox DH after sitting out the last two games, hit his first home run of the season in the second inning off Orioles right-hander Jeremy Guthrie. It came on his 42d at-bat of the season, and landed in the Monster seats in left-center field. Last year, Ortiz did not hit his first home run until May 20. (Read more on Ortiz here)

-- Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester, who has never lost to the Orioles (10-0 in 12 career starts prior to Friday night), left in the sixth inning with a 3-0 lead but turned over a bases-loaded situation to Daniel Bard, who retired Garrett Atkins on a fly to center to end the threat. “With the game on the line, we went to Bard,’’ manager Terry Francona said.

An inning later, Adam Jones hit a two-run home run off Bard, and the Orioles tied it in the eighth after a lead-off double by Matt Wieters off Hideki Okajima, a walk and a couple of ground balls off Manny Delcarmen.

-- Lester walked four and struck out seven, and did not get a decision. He had thrown 113 pitches at the time he was pulled. He walked three batters in each of his first three starts; he walked as many as four just once last season.

-- The Red Sox, who had allowed 36 steals in 37 chances, were credited with their second caught stealing when Lester caught Cesar Izturis leaning in the fifth. The Orioles, who came into the game with just three stolen bases, stole successfully once Friday night -- Lou Montanez credited with his first steal of the season in the seventh.

-- The Orioles are now 2-15, the worst record in baseball, and are 27-65 on the road since the start of the 2009 season. The Sox were 16-2 against the Orioles last season.

Baltimore was victimized by a brutal call in the eighth when Beltre’s throw to second on Garrett Atkins’ bunt clearly pulled Dustin Pedroia off the bag, but Nolan Reimold was called out. Instead of having the bases loaded with no outs, the Orioles had runners on the corners with just one out, and only got a run out of it.

-- Bill Hall, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter, made the night’s biggest defensive play when he barehanded a ball off the Monster and threw Nick Markakis out at second as he tried to stretch a single into a double.

-- The night’s most spectacular play was Beltre throwing out Cesar Izturis on a swinging bunt to open the seventh, after his signature barehanded pickup.

Greinke (gulp) is next

April, 10, 2010
4/10/10
1:25
PM ET
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Let’s say you’re a Red Sox reserve player, which makes you one of four guys: Jeremy Hermida, Mike Lowell, Bill Hall and Jason Varitek.


You haven’t played in a week (except for Hermida, who got in Friday night because David Ortiz was ejected and lined a single), and while you’ve tried to stay sharp with extra batting practice and hitting off the tee during games, you feel a little like a ’91 Buick: The rust can’t help but show.

Then you hear the good news: Terry Francona says there’s a pretty good chance some of you are going to play Saturday night. Can’t wait to get in there, right?

Ah, but there’s a catch, the kind that might incline you to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over your head: You’ll be facing Zack Greinke. You know, the guy who marched through a gantlet of his teammates Friday night to receive the AL Cy Young Award.

So, in essence, you go from spitting sunflower seeds to facing a guy with a mid-90s fastball that he can locate with the same precision of someone fitting in the last piece to a jigsaw puzzle, a slider that tumbles through a trapdoor, and a slow curve that starts laughing at you even before it turns you into a contortionist. Oh, and did we mention he‘s added a changeup that made him almost as unhittable at the end of the season (5-0, 1.29 ERA) as he was at the beginning (8-1, 0.84)?

The Sox saw Greinke only once last season, in September, and that was enough. He treated them the same way he treated everybody else: six scoreless innings, two hits, three walks, five strikeouts.

Now, here’s the truly scary part: His teammates think he can be even better than last season, in part because he will throw the changeup more.

“How it plays out, who knows?” Royals pitching coach Bob McClure told Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star. “But he’s a better pitcher now. He’s more prepared. He knows the hitters better. All that, you put it together, and the guy’s better.”

Varitek seems the most likely candidate to play Saturday night, with a day game Sunday. Although, a look at the numbers would suggest that maybe the Sox would be better off giving Martinez Sunday off. Martinez is batting .341 (14 for 41) lifetime against Greinke, and did even better against him in his ’09 breakout season, batting .500 (6 for 12).

Varitek, meanwhile, ended last season batting .134 (13 for 97), lost his everyday job to Martinez, and this spring has on his heart the serious illness of his father, Joe. Varitek said in spring training that he tries to block it out on the field, but Jason, who turns 38 on Sunday, is a father himself, so you can imagine how he is struggling.

The silver lining for the Sox? The last time they faced Greinke, they ran out Paul Byrd to face him, and the Royals scored five times in the first inning. Saturday night, the Sox are pitching Josh Beckett, who is 5-0 with a 2.03 ERA in seven starts against the Royals and has not allowed a home run to a KC batter in 197 plate appearances.

Quick hits: Pirates 9, Red Sox 7

March, 19, 2010
3/19/10
7:34
PM ET
The outcome: David Ortiz hit his second spring home run and the Red Sox scored more runs than they had in the last four games combined, but they still fell to the Pirates, 9-7. An obviously weakened Josh Beckett, still fighting the effects of a flu that had kept him bedridden for four days, was knocked around for four runs on six hits and two walks in 3 1/3 innings, but he considered it a W that he was able to throw 70 pitches.

The notable: Bill Hall went six more innings at short, handled three routine chances and turned a double play started by second baseman Angel Sanchez as the Sox look for further assurance that he can handle the position in the event he's needed.

Hall has logged most of his time at third base (15 innings) but now has played 11 at short, plus had time at second and both corner outfield positions.

Prospect update: Junichi Tazawa gave up a wind-aided home run to Rule 5 pick John Raynor in the eighth, but has placed himself in the mix for a spot in the bullpen.

“He can do different things,'' manager Terry Francona said before the game. "He can relieve, he can start, he holds runners. He’s another guy who has come a long way in a year.''

Tazawa is a Craig Shipley find, signed out of the Japanese industrial league. He projects to be in Pawtucket's starting rotation, but the Sox are giving him a long look in the pen.

"He’s a guy that not only is in a fight to maybe make our team, but someone we really think highly of,'' Francona said.

"Depending on what our needs are, he could always be a reliever.''

The Sox decision could depend on whether Manny Delcarmen begins to show progress in camp. His velocity still topped out at only 91 miles an hour on Wednesday, and while Francona said his issues were mechanical and that he was working on his delivery, mechanical issues typically don't account for such a significant drop in velocity.

Progress report: Daisuke Matsuzaka, back from a brief trip to Boston to witness the birth of his third child, a daughter, threw a 44-pitch bullpen Friday, said he felt good afterward, and Farrell said he is now slated to throw two innings in a minor-league game on Sunday.

Rather than face the Rays, a team the Sox will play 18 times this season -- there's a series between the teams every month -- John Lackey will throw in a minor-league game on Monday, Farrell said. Boof Bonser will face the Rays instead, with Michael Bowden making the trip to Jupiter to face the Cardinals in a split-squad makeup of the rainout there.

What's next: The Orioles are sending a split squad to face the Red Sox at City of Palms Park on Saturday. Tim Wakefield draws the start, but Delcarmen, scheduled in relief, bears watching.

Short hops: Minor-league utilityman Gil Velazquez has a broken bone at the base of his left thumb and is expected to miss "significant time," according to Francona ... Jacoby Ellsbury (throat) was feeling better and worked out Friday, Francona said ... The Pirates brought up third baseman Jeremy Farrell from minor-league camp to face the Sox. Jeremy's father is the Sox pitching coach. He singled in his only at-bat.

"You don't get to see him very often, but to see him in this setting is pretty special,'' said John Farrell, who planned to stick around afterward to have dinner with his son, an 8th-round draft choice of the club in 2008 who played in the Class A South Atlantic League last season.

"I appreciate the Pirates for bringing him over,'' he said.

Farrell hasn't seen his son, 23, play since spring training last season.

"He looks like he's in great shape. I know he loves what he's doing, we'll see where it takes him.''

This has been a week for coach-and-son reunions. On Tuesday in Kissimmee, Ron Johnson switched coaching boxes, from first to third, while his son Chris played third for the Astros.

"One of the weirdest feelings I've ever had on a ballfield,'' said Johnson, whose son is slated to play Triple-A after getting a big-league call-up last September, but is considered a good prospect.

"Nervousness, pride, confusion,'' Johnson said. " A great day.''

Quick hits: Bill Hall

February, 28, 2010
2/28/10
2:18
PM ET
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Six quick hits on Bill Hall, new Red Sox utilityman:

1. The King and I: Hall was born in Tupelo, Miss., birthplace of Elvis Presley. He grew up in Nettleton, Miss., a town of 1,932, according to the 2000 census, and home also to Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Jason Ferguson.

2. K-rations: Hall has struck out 372 times in 1,190 at-bats, the most among any player with 1,200 or fewer at-bats. He's one of only three major leaguers with 300 or more Ks in 1,200 or fewer at-bats. Hall has whiffed in 31.3 percent of his at-bats over the last three years. That’s not much behind Ryan Howard, who leads the majors in whiffs in that span (584 in 1,755 at-bats), a 33.3 percentage.

3. Paid back with interest: Hall has started games at all three outfield positions and second, third and short in the infield. The outfield glove he brought to camp: A Mike Cameron model. “I borrowed one from him last year,’’ said Hall, who played with Cameron in Milwaukee.

“I’m used to playing all those positions,’’ Hall said. “The only position I need extra work at is shortstop. I haven’t played there since ’06, so the Red Sox are going to move me in slowly. The rest of them, I’m used to.

“I’m definitely not the greatest outfielder, but I’m not going to embarrass anybody. I think I’m an above-average outfielder.’’

4. The Beltre connection: Hall was acquired by Seattle from Milwaukee after Adrian Beltre sustained a gruesome injury, a testicular contusion that knocked him out of the lineup for 18 days. But in 34 games with the Mariners, Hall spent most of his time in the outfield, playing in 30 games there while appearing at just three at third base.

“I wasn’t in many trade talks at the time,’’ Hall said. “Four days before it happened, I was talking to [Mariners manager Don] Wakamatsu, who said he was thinking about a few things -- moving [second baseman Jose Lopez] to first base and Figgie [newly acquired Chone Figgins] back to second and let me play third.

“But then Theo [Epstein] came in and said he wanted me.’’

The Red Sox traded first baseman Casey Kotchman for Hall, with the Mariners agreeing to pay $7.15 million of his $8.4 million salary in 2010.

“Obviously Seattle would rather keep Lopie at second base and get a first baseman,’’ Hall said. “And when Theo called me, he said, ‘I’ve been trying to get you for three years.’

“I had a great time in Seattle and thought I fit in perfect, but to come into this situation, I was excited when I heard the news.’’

5. Straddling the Mendoza Line: Hall batted a career-low .201 last season with just eight home runs, a far cry from the .270 with 35 homers he hit in 2006 with Milwaukee. If a pitcher threw a first-pitch strike to Hall last season, Hall was all but cooked; he batted just .122 (20 for 164). He also was helpless as a pinch-hitter: 0 for 7, five whiffs.

The Sox would like to use him against some left-handers in right field and sit J.D. Drew. Hall is batting .270 in his career against lefties, but last season batted just .223 against lefties, with three home runs in 130 at-bats.

6. In a perfect world …: Hall would be a Jerry Adair, the '67 model, but one who could also play the outfield. At the time Adair was acquired from the White Sox in 1967, he was batting a measly .204. With the Red Sox, Adair became an invaluable utilityman, hitting .291 in 89 games.

A year later, Adair hit .216 and was gone.

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