Bill Hall didn't see his name in Triple-A Norfolk's lineup yesterday, so he grabbed an outfielder's glove and shagged fly balls during batting practice. He did it on a whim, having no idea that he'd be starting in left field tonight for the Orioles.
Worked out pretty well for him.
Hall is known primarily as a third baseman, but he's played in the outfield in 240 major league games - including 78 in left. He's played third base in 271 games over his 1o-year major league career.
"I'm very comfortable," he said. "Hopefully, I don't say anything dumb and go out and make some errors tonight, but outfield to me is easier than the infield. I'll go out and make sure to learn how the ball bounces off the wall and all the little stuff. Outside of that, hopefully I'm still a good enough athlete to run under the ball and catch it. That's how simply I try to think about the outfield. Obviously, there's more to it, but just use my athletic ability to run under it and catch it and get it back in there as quick as possible.
"You can put me anywhere on the field and I'm not going to embarrass myself. I might not be the best, but I'm not going to embarrass myself, and hopefully I'll be better than average. That's my goal, to just be better than average at every place on the field."
A reporter asked Hall if he considered retirement after the Yankees released him in spring training.
"Never a thought, never a thought," he replied, his eyes widening. "I'm 32 years old. Obviously, I'm considered a veteran in the game, but 32 years old isn't that old. For me, honestly, I feel like I have at least five good years, and I'm thinking seven. I feel like my body's in good enough shape and I haven't had too bad of injuries along my career. I consider myself to still be pretty young as far as having a lot more time to play this game."
Hall is still waiting for a ball to be hit to him tonight. Brandon Guyer cleared the left-center field fence leading off the second inning, taking aim at the Orioles' bullpen, to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead against Brian Matusz.
Matusz walked Ben Zobrist leading off the first, got a double play ball and gave up a single to B.J. Upton before striking out Jeff Keppinger.
Robert Andino doubled to open the bottom of the first, but he was thrown out trying to steal third base.
In other news, the Reds called up former Orioles farmhand Mike Costanzo, who batted .303 with six homers, 24 RBIs and a .541 slugging percentage in 34 games between Double-A Pensacola - managed by former Nationals skipper Jim Riggleman - and Triple-A Louisville.
Update: The Rays committed three errors in the bottom of the second inning, and the Orioles scored two unearned runs to take a 2-1 lead.
Steve Tolleson doubled down the left field line to score Adam Jones and tie the game, and another run scored when Guyer misplayed the ball. Jones reached on third baseman Sean Rodriguez's error and took second on pitcher Matt Moore's errant pickoff throw.
Update II: The Rays have tied their franchise record with five errors tonight, and the Orioles scored two more runs in the fifth to lead, 4-1.
Jones had a bases-loaded, two-run single, and he advanced when B.J. Upton overran the ball.
Luke Scott delivered a two-run single with two outs in the sixth inning to cut the Orioles' lead to 4-3. Matusz had retired 12 of 14 batters before Sean Rodriguez's leadoff single in the sixth.
Matusz allowed three runs (two earned) and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings, with one walk and five strikeouts. He threw 95 pitches, 64 for strikes.