The 25-year-old rookie hyperextended his knee upon crossing first base and could miss the remainder of the 2021 season, considering the Tigers only have 13 games remaining. A cart drove Hill behind home plate, and he was removed from the field on a wheelchair.
“He got banged up pretty good at first base,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said. “They were concerned about his left knee. I think he hyperextended it. He was uncomfortable, so (we’re) not even going to waste any time trying to walk him off the field.
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“I don’t know how he avoids the (injured list) at this point, just given where we’re at in the season. We’ll do the tests that we always do and check him out fully. The doctors here will see him. It was an unfortunate play to say the least.”
Hill opened the fifth inning by bunting down the first-base line. He hoped to steal a single against Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough, who tossed the ball to first baseman Ji-Man Choi. As Hill reached the base, he collided with Choi, took a tumble on the artificial turf and did not move.
Eventually, Hill was helped onto the cart by the trainers.
Hill is hitting .259 with three doubles, three triples, three home runs, 14 RBIs, 10 walks and 42 strikeouts over 49 games in 2021, along with providing elite defense in center field. He has landed on the injured list twice this season: June 10 with a right shoulder sprain and Aug. 11 with a left ribcage contusion.
All three of his injuries this season have occurred on the field.
“It sucks. He’s one of our high-octane guys, especially on the field and in the dugout,” Tigers catcher Dustin Garneau said. “It’s one of those tough plays. The ball took Choi into the line and it took Derek right into him. We’re hoping he can make a speedy recovery. We don’t even know what’s wrong with him yet. I’m hoping nothing’s really wrong besides just bruises.”
Third baseman Jeimer Candelario added: “It was tough. It was dangerous to see that. He’s a great player for us. He’s doing a lot of things to help us win games. Hopefully, he can come back and help us win.”
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.