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Sports

September 30, 2009

Toronto's unsung Hill is second to none

BOSTON — If Aaron Hill played for the Boston Red Sox, well, he would be world famous.

His 36 homers, including his second-inning bomb last night over the Green Monster, and his 105 RBI lead all middle infielders in the majors.

To put Hill's season in perspective, the "world famous" Dustin Pedroia hit 17 homers with 83 RBI en route to the American League Most Valuable Player Award last year.

Pedroia did hit .326 in 2008 compared to Hill's .287 through last night, but the point is if Hill played in Boston he would not only be famous but he would be beloved.

Defensively, Hill, might even have the edge on Pedroia, the reigning AL Gold Glove Award winner, at second base. Hill has committed seven errors to Pedroia's six, but has had a whopping 130 more chances (774 to 644).

"The funny thing is Aaron reminds me of Pedroia," said Toronto Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi before his club beat Boston, 8-7, last night. "He's tough. He's gritty. He comes to the park and plays hard every night. He's got a very quick bat. And he takes a lot of pride in his defense."

Hill admits Fenway Park feels like home to him. Including last night's home run in the second inning, he has six career homers against the Red Sox. All of them at Fenway Park. All of them over the wall in left field.

"I love playing here. The city is great. The atmosphere, with all of the fans, is fun to be around," said Hill. "Hitting here is an advantage with the wall. I mean, look at it, it's right there ... But you still have to hit it."

What hurts the Hill Publicity Tour is the AL East. Despite the fact the Blue Jays are a respectable 12 games over .500 since Hill played his first game on May 20, 2005, they have been road kill in this division, never sniffing a big game in September, never mind October.

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