Saturday, March 25

‘A big part of my game’

LOS ANGELES — Detroit Tigers outfielder Derek Hill doesn’t want to get into all the details.

“That’ll be for another day,” Hill said. “There’s a lot there.”

Gene Roof retired from his post as the Tigers’ outfield coordinator in November 2020, after spending 34 years with the organization. Before his departure, the baseball lifer taught Hill about the nuances of bunting.

“I feel like it’s a little bit of a lost art,” Hill said Sunday, before the Tigers’ series finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. “Not many people do it anymore. But the way that the shifts are right now, it’s a pretty good weapon to be able to use. The push bunt is going to be a big part of my game this year.”

Detroit Tigers center fielder Derek Hill (54) is greeted by designated hitter Miguel Cabrera (24) after scoring a run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the third inning  on Saturday, April 30, 2022, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

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Teams are shifting Hill up the middle, which is where he collects most of his singles. Players want to protect themselves from giving up hits on his ground balls into center field.

That’s where bunting comes in.

“He’s got a lot more confidence to do it,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “There are hits out there for guys, and his skillset matches that. He can swing the bat a little bit, but he also has the dynamic speed.

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