As Carlos Ruiz hits the seven-day DL with concussion symptoms due to last night's HBP, the Phillies made some corresponding roster moves. Koyie Hill was bumped up from Lehigh Valley to back up Cameron Rupp, who had been called up from Lehigh Valley to replace Wil Nieves. Zach Collier was DFA'd so Hill, who was not on the 40-man, could in fact be on the 40-man.
35-year-old Hill has spent many years failing to win back-up catching jobs, or winning them but then breaking his ankle. He is one of those guys who will have a great spring and make you wonder "what if..." before hitting .218 and making you hate yourself for thinking that. His recent past is a tornado of non-tenderings, DFAs, contract purchases, and stops in the minors.
This is not the first time Hill has been the last line of defense between a team having a catcher and just hoping the ball caroms accurately off the backstop.
In 2007, he was called up by the Cubs to back up Michael Barrett, and then had to on the day of his promotion when Barrett got in a fight with Carlos Zambrano. That same year, he suffered a horrifying table saw accident.
And in 2012, the Cubs lost three catchers in Steve Clevenger, Geovany Soto, and Wellington Castillo, sighed, rolled their eyes, and reacquired Hill from the bowels of the Reds' farm system in Pensacola, where he was playing for their Double A affiliate, the Blue Wahoos.
With Lehigh Valley, Hill was hitting .240 with a .714 OPS, three home runs, a triple, and nine doubles. He hit a safety squeeze the other night to win a game.