Already with a fairly commanding three game lead in the NL West over the Colorado Rockies, the Arizona Diamondbacks offensive fortunes will be taking a turn for the better, with the news that second baseman Aaron Hill's left hand fracture is finally healed, prompting him to be activated from the 15-day disabled list, in time for Tuesday's series against the Washington Nationals.
Sidelined since April 15 after being hit by a pitch during the DBacks' April 9 game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Hill is just as anxious to get back on to the field as teammate Paul Goldschmidt:
It'll be awesome to get him [Hill] back. Obviously
he's a very good player. We all know what he can do. It's good to get
In a corresponding roster move, lefty reliever Joe Paterson was optioned to Class AAA Reno after 2.1 innings of work with the parent club, pitching well enough in the lefty specialist role to garner a 0.857 WHIP and 7.7 K/9 in two outings.
Posting some encouraging numbers while at Reno, Hill's eye and stroke appear to have not been too hampered by the hand woes, hitting at a .375/.385/.500 slash line with 6 RBI and a 126 wRC+ in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast league. Before the injury, Hill was hitting .306/.405/.556 with the DBacks in 10 games, good for a 158 wRC+ and an impressive 0.3 fWAR in a small sampling of innings played.
In his absence, second base was ably fielded by the likes of veteran Willie Bloomquist and Cliff Pennington. While neither are known for their offensive power - Bloomquist is currently hitting at a .299/.342/.343 slash line, Pennington at .233/.304/.301 - Pennington in particular has been stellar with the glove as Hill recuperates; his 3.1 fielding runs above average (Fld) per Fangraphs ranks sixth for National League second basemen with at least 170 plate appearances.
While Arizona's defense around second will take a dip with the return of Hill (-1.8 Fld in 2013), their middle-of-the-pack offense - ranked eighth in the NL with a 10.0 fWAR - will only continue to improve, as the two-time Silver Slugger Award winner returns to his customary spot, batting third in the Diamondbacks lineup.
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