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Hill recalled; Jones to IL; Norris 'relieved'

@ladsonbill24
September 2, 2020

The Tigers placed outfielder JaCoby Jones on the 10-day injured list with a fractured left hand and recalled outfielder Derek Hill from the alternate training site in Toledo, Ohio, on Wednesday. • Jones out for season with fractured hand Hill, Detroit’s first-round Draft pick in 2014, is expected to come

The Tigers placed outfielder JaCoby Jones on the 10-day injured list with a fractured left hand and recalled outfielder Derek Hill from the alternate training site in Toledo, Ohio, on Wednesday.

Jones out for season with fractured hand

Hill, Detroit’s first-round Draft pick in 2014, is expected to come off the bench and be a defensive replacement and pinch-runner. This will be his first stint in the big leagues.

Hill is considered an above-average center fielder and impressed the organization with a few catches in Summer Camp that went viral on social media. However, Hill struggled at the plate until this year when he showed consistency at the alternate site. He has also battled injuries in his career that have stalled his progress, including Tommy John surgery in 2016. Hill will wear uniform No. 54.

Even Willie Mays would be stunned by this catch

“There is a little bit of relief and whatnot. It’s just more exciting,” Hill said. “It was a long journey. I was drafted in 2014, and here we are today making my debut. I’m happy, to say the least.”

Hill could occasionally start in center field, according to manager Ron Gardenhire.

“We always try to make sure these guys get some playing time. We know he is an above-average defender,” Gardenhire said. “We know he hit some home runs last year. He is getting stronger, very athletic. He is a young player with a lot of talent.”

As for Jones, he is expected to be out for the season after being hit by a pitch in Tuesday’s 12-1 win. Gardenhire doesn’t think Jones was hit by Brewers right-hander Phil Bickford on purpose.

“It happens in this game. You have to deal with it. That’s what we are trying to do right now,” the skipper said.

With Jones out, the Tigers started Victor Reyes in center field on Wednesday in the series finale, but Gardenhire said when Reyes plays a corner spot, Hill could start in center.

“We are going to ad-lib, just let it go and see how we are doing. Hopefully we keep playing well,” Gardenhire said.

Norris happy to be a Tiger
Left-hander Daniel Norris heard his name bandied about in trade rumors ahead of Monday’s Deadline. But he is happy to still be a member of the Tigers, because they have a shot to play in the postseason.

That isn’t wishful thinking on Norris’ part. Detroit entered Wednesday on a six-game winning streak and within a half-game of the final American League Wild Card spot. Norris believes the Tigers have reaped the benefits of being patient and working hard.

“I was relieved. I tried my best not to pay attention to it. I had some friends and family who paid attention to it,” Norris said. “At the end of the day, I’m happy I could still be here. That’s what I wanted. … That was probably the hardest part, just knowing I was playing the waiting game and seeing what was going to happen.”

Norris has been lights-out as a middle reliever for the Tigers this season, going 3-1 with a 1.72 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings. It helps that he has a lethal changeup, which is his out pitch. Though he says he would love to be a starter, he will do anything to help the team play in October.

“Whatever I could do to bridge the gap, whatever that means, [I’m happy to do it],” Norris said.

Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. He covered the Nationals/Expos from 2002-2016. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.