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Hill makes return to lineup following hand injury

WASHINGTON -- For D-backs second baseman Aaron Hill, Tuesday was a bit like Opening Day all over again.

Hill was activated from the 15-day disabled list where he had been since April 15 after suffering a fracture in his left hand.

"It kind of feels like [Opening Day]," Hill said. "It's fun. It's just been a long time. Unfortunately, it was longer than anyone expected it to be."

Hill's injury was a non-union fracture, which means the bone has not and will not completely heal, so further rest will not help the situation.

As long as Hill is pain-free or can tolerate it if there is any pain, he can play.

"We took the time that the doctors told us to take," Hill said. "It feels great now, a lot of hand-strengthening exercises and a lot of things we've been doing the last few weeks."

Hill played in six rehab games for Triple-A Reno and said the biggest tests for the hand came from check swings and swings and misses. Once he cleared those hurdles without any pain, it was just a matter of getting his timing down at the plate.

"The last few days felt great, and I told them I'm ready to go," Hill said.

If Hill makes it through the rest of the season without re-fracturing the hand, he can choose whether to have surgery on the hand during the offseason to correct the non-union fracture.

"It'll be a personal choice," Hill said. "It's up to me at the end of year, how it feels and just kind of play it by ear."

The D-backs optioned left-hander Joe Paterson to Reno to make room on the roster for Hill. The D-backs had been carrying an extra pitcher on the roster.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.
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