When the Tigers placed outfielder Victor Reyes on the 10-day injured list Thursday with a left intercostal strain, Hill was recalled from Triple-A Toledo. He has a .355 batting average in 21 games for the Mud Hens and is the best defensive outfielder in the farm system.
The 25-year-old made his MLB debut last season, playing in 15 games but only logging 11 at-bats. He was commonly used as the 27th player for doubleheaders, as a defensive replacement and as a pinch-runner.
Hill has played two games for the Tigers this season, going 0-for-1 at the plate. He made the trip from Toledo for a pair of doubleheaders — April 21 against the Pittsburgh Pirates and April 29 against the Chicago White Sox — but hasn’t been a regular on the active roster since the end of the 2020 season.
Last year, Hill went 1-for-11 (.091) with one walk and six strikeouts.
His results in Toledo this season earned him another opportunity. Along with going 27-for-76 (.355), Hill tossed in five doubles, one triple two home runs and 11 RBIs across 21 games. He stole four bases, drew eight walks and struck out 25 times.
So far, Hill is enjoying the best season of his seven-year career in the minors. The Tigers selected him with the No. 23 overall pick in the 2014 draft, and he owns a lifetime .248 batting average, 25 home runs and 180 RBIs in 498 games.
By going to the injured list, Reyes created room for Hill. He started feeling pain in his chest May 27 against Cleveland, forcing manager AJ Hinch and athletic trainer Doug Teter to check on him during his at-bat in the fifth inning.
Reyes stayed in the game, but he was scratched from the May 28 starting lineup with pectoral stiffness. Still, Hinch used him as a pinch-hitter in the 10th inning against the New York Yankees.
Reyes has played three games since, hitting 2-for-12 (.167) with one double and four strikeouts. He has a .157 batting average, three walks and 25 strikeouts across 27 games in 2021.
Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.