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Tight right hamstring sidelines Hill

Tight right hamstring sidelines Hill

BOSTON -- The Blue Jays' initial lineup for Wednesday's game against the Red Sox included Aaron Hill's name. Manager Cito Gaston felt that a day off would not sit well with the slumping second baseman.

"He's the type of kid that I think if you did that to him, it would hurt him more than help him," Gaston explained. "If I thought it would help him, I certainly would do it."

Shortly before the game began, though, Hill was a late scratch due to tightness in his right hamstring -- the same injury that cost him two weeks on the disabled list in April. Prior to being pulled from the lineup, Hill told reporters that the injury had nothing to do with his recent struggles.

"No," Hill said bluntly.

That may have simply been Hill not willing to use the injury as an excuse.

"I think it's still there a little bit," Gaston said of the injury before the game. "But he hasn't complained about it. But that's him -- just like he wouldnt want out of the lineup."

Through 21 games this season, Hill has hit just .181 with two home runs and six RBIs. The second baseman injured his right hamstring during a diving catch in the ninth inning of an Opening Day loss to the Rangers in Texas. On Toronto's current road trip, Hill has hit just .154 (6-for-39), raising questions about his health.

It has been a drastic drop-off from last season, when Hill enjoyed a breakout campaign by hitting .286 with 36 home runs and 108 RBIs. On Wednesday, Hill was quick to recall his early woes in 2006, when he hit just .186 through May 13, but recovered by posting a .320 average over the final 122 games.

"It was very similar, and that was playing every day," Hill said. "I remember we went to Colorado and I had a couple -- and who knows, maybe my swing was getting there -- but I had a couple broken-bat hits, bloopers here, bloopers there. It's just funny how the game is when something like that can get your confidence rolling."

Hill also said his current problems at the plate have nothing to do with pitchers approaching him any different than last season.

"I don't think so, because I've had my pitches to hit," Hill said. "I've just missed them. That's the bottom line. Every day I'm getting pitches to hit and I'm just not doing it. I don't have an answer for that. If I did, I would be [getting hits].

"There's nothing different from last year other than I'm just missing balls. There's no excuses. There's nothing that I would change. It's just getting back, getting ready and [the hits] are going to come."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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