SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Thus far, Aaron Hill is beating baseball's version of the Grim Reaper. After the Giants defeated the D-backs, 12-4, on Sunday at Scottsdale Stadium, the club announced six cuts from the Major League camp and Hill was not among them.Clayton Blackburn, Joan Gregorio and Chris Stratton were
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Thus far, Aaron Hill is beating baseball's version of the Grim Reaper. After the Giants defeated the D-backs, 12-4, on Sunday at Scottsdale Stadium, the club announced six cuts from the Major League camp and Hill was not among them.
Clayton Blackburn, Joan Gregorio and Chris Stratton were assigned to Triple-A Sacramento. Sam Coonrod, Matt Reynolds and Kyle Blanks were all sent to the Minor League camp. Blanks had just hit a two-run, eighth-inning homer in the game.
Manager Bruce Bochy said the call on Hill and the other veteran non-roster players in camp will go down to the wire. Michael Morse, Justin Ruggiano, Tim Federowicz and James Rollins are all among that group.
"They're going to be tough calls," Bochy said. "It's good to have not just good players, but good character guys like Aaron. I've enjoyed getting to watch him play and getting to know him."
Hill has been Mr. Versatile since he signed a Minor League contract and joined the team in February, playing second base, third base and the outfield.
"I'm working with Buster Posey's first baseman's glove," Hill said beforehand, pulling a long black-leathered glove from his cubicle. "Hey, if they want me to catch, I'll do that, too."
Hill started at second in the game, went 0-for-2 and is batting .286. He's a veteran of 12 big league seasons and will turn 35 on March 21. Hill has previously played for four teams in both leagues, splitting last season between the Brewers and Red Sox. His lifetime slash line of .267/.324/.420 is not spectacular, but his .989 fielding percentage is testimony to his defensive effectiveness.
With 13-man pitching staffs now the norm in the National League, there must be flexibility among the few bench guys. In addition to pitching, each team harbors its starting eight position players and a backup catcher. That leaves only three other spots. The day of the left-handed pinch-hit specialist is long gone.
"[Hill] gives us that and so does some other guys," Bochy said. "Those decisions are going to come down to the end of camp. I've already had some guys tell me, 'I'm glad I'm not you.' I mean, they're all good guys, experienced guys, and they're doing a good job."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter.