The St. Louis Cardinals called up yet another new face Wednesday in the aftermath of Matt Carpenter's oblique injury—well, mostly new. Steven Hill, the Memphis Redbirds' catcher-third-baseman-outfielder, made his 2012 debut with the big club Wednesday, making an out as a pinch hitter late in the Cardinals' sweep of the Padres. But it was his second game as a big leaguer—longtime prospect-watchers will recall that Steven Hill appeared in one game in 2010, hitting a home run and striking out in three at-bats as Yadier Molina's replacement in this would-be blowout on August 15.â†µ
That's basically Hill's game, at 27; he can play catcher but not well enough to start there, and he's going to hit some home runs, but not quite enough to start at third base or in the outfield. In 270 games at AA Springfield, where he's spent most of his time, he's hit .283/.339/.511 with 57 home runs. He could be a solid bench bat on a team with less depth and less love for the traditional backup catcher model; on the Cardinals he's a perfect fill-in for the space between Matt Carpenter's injury and Allen Craig's eligibility to return from the 15-day disabled list.â†µ
Craig's eligible to come off the disabled list a little more than a week from now. Until then, Hill, who also has this to deal with—â†µ
Chatted briefly with Steven Hill after the game. He said his wife is nine months pregnant, making jump to big leagues a little more hectic.â†µ— B.J. Rains (@BJRains) May 24, 2012
—will likely sit on the bench, do some pinch hitting, and possibly take a start against a left-handed pitcher at first base, to give suddenly vital rookie slugger Matt Adams a break. Not a bad gig by any means, but in another organization Hill might find himself with the chance to do it more frequently—without waiting for Lance Berkman, Allen Craig, and Matt Carpenter to all go down at once.