Hall's new claim to fame: First base
Veteran playing new position after 7,528 innings elsewhere in field
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Bill Hall has played 7,528 1/3 innings in the Majors at seven different positions, including one at pitcher. None of that time has come at first base -- until now.
Hall, the 33-year-old trying to win a bench spot this spring, spent a little bit of time at first base during the workouts and played there for five innings during Sunday's near-four-hour game against the A's.
If Hall can adapt, it would make him useful to the Angels at six positions -- first base, second, third, left field, right field and, perhaps to a lesser degree, shortstop.
"He's been working out in the middle infield early, he can play third base and he can play the outfield," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "As far as his versatility, any time a guy can pick up a new position, it's important."
By the end of the month, the Angels basically have to make a decision on Hall, who's signed to a Minor League deal. The club will owe him a $100,000 bonus if it wants to keep him in the organization, but not on the 25-man roster, past March 26.
Proving he can also play first base can't hurt his chances of making the team, but it isn't expected to be the deciding factor.
"If Billy's going to make our team, it's going to be where his bat plays," Scioscia said. "He has to show some ability to play on the left side of the infield, too."
Hall went 1-for-2 with a double and a run scored in the Angels' 7-5 loss to the A's, and just barely missed a two-run homer. With the Angels down three, one on and none out in the bottom of the eighth, Hall hit a towering shot that bounced off the very top of the chain-link fence that surrounds the outfield wall. The third-base umpire ruled it in play, Luis Rodriguez was thrown out at home plate and Scioscia went out to get an explanation.
"I thought it went over, that it hit the [grass beyond the fence] and came back," Scioscia said. "They said it hit the top of the fence, so that was that."