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MLB vet Bill Hall gives Ducks a lift

Long Island Ducks infielder Bill Hall singles to

Long Island Ducks infielder Bill Hall singles to left during the fifth inning against the York Revolution at Bethpage Ballpark on Aug 3, 2014. Credit: Anthony Gruppuso

The call of the quack was too loud for Bill Hall to ignore. The 34-year-old, who played 11 seasons in the majors, was ready to call it a career earlier this year. Hall was running up a mountain at his Arizona home in February when he strained his left calf. But feeling he had a "few years left," Hall decided to give baseball another go and re-signed with the Ducks on July 18.

Hall has hit .256 with three home runs and 14 RBIs in his first 25 games this season. Hall played 91 games with the Ducks last year, hitting .239 with 16 home runs and 63 RBIs. He had five doubles and a homer in the 2013 playoffs, helping the Ducks capture their second consecutive Atlantic League championship.

While in the majors, Hall played for the Brewers, Mariners, Red Sox, Astros, Giants and Orioles. He hit .248 with 125 home runs and 440 RBIs.

Two weeks after signing with the Ducks, Hall and his wife, Tinique, welcomed second daughter, Maya, born on July 30. Maya and her 3-year-old sister, Sydni, stay with Tinique in Arizona. Hall video chats with them daily.

 

You joined the team in the middle of the 13-game losing streak. Was it harder to get acclimated during such a rough patch?

Not for me. The first day I got here, I thought [the losing streak] was going to end. I'm that kind of player. Obviously, I wasn't in midseason form, but I still feel like I'm a dangerous player. I figured I could come here, help out, and we'd get out of it pretty quick. It lasted a little longer than we thought it would, but once we got over it, we got back to our winning ways.

 

The offense has been on fire lately. What's going well right now?

We're putting good at-bats on pitchers. We're facing some guys that have been throwing the ball well for most of the year. But if you put pressure on a team, put a lot of guys on, take a lot of pitches, and take your walks, it makes it tougher on guys. When pitchers see runners on the bases, and you have guys who can steal bases, it makes them worry about them. More times than not, you're going to get a good pitch to hit because sometimes they lose focus on the hitter and think about what the runner is going to do. We're seeing a lot more pitches that are hittable and we're taking advantage of it.

 

Are you happy with where you are at the plate?

I'm getting there. It takes a little bit of time, especially with the amount of time I took off and not seeing live pitching. You can't simulate live pitching, no matter how much you hit off a tee or out of a pitching machine . . . I'm starting to get my legs back under me a little bit and am starting to drive the ball like I'm used to driving it.

 

You are in the middle of seven consecutive games against Somerset. When you see a team that much, do you start to figure out the pitchers, specifically the bullpen?

You never have baseball figured out. Everybody is making changes . . . It's a little bit of a chess match. You feel it out on a day-to-day basis. Outside of knowing what pitches [pitchers] are capable of throwing, they're still not going to throw them when you think they are. You try to give that back to him and try to make him make a mistake.

New York Sports