Bill Hall is taking a realist’s approach to his position as a non-roster invitee with a minor-league contract in the Angels’ spring training camp.
“I put myself in this situation so I have to work myself out of it,” he said. “That’s the way I look at it.”
Hall was once an everyday player with the Milwaukee Brewers. He played no fewer than 110 games from 2004-10 and clubbed 35 home runs in his third full major-league season.
Now 33, Hall has spent more time in Triple-A (121 games) than the major leagues (69 games) the past two seasons. The Angels are his eighth team in five years. He showed up early to camp to compete for a role as a utility infielder/outfielder – one of baseball’s least glamorous jobs but one that Hall would accept with humility. He’s even wearing a big zero on his back.
“There’s not a lot of low digits left,” he said. “I like low numbers. If I have a good spring I’ll definitely keep it.”
Here’s another low number: 210. Hall said he weighed 230 pounds last year and has since lost 20, his midday meal of fruit and yogurt offering a hint at the dietary changes he’s made to stay in the game.
In his major-league career, Hall has played every position except for first base and catcher — he even pitched an inning in 2010 for the Boston Red Sox — but he might have lost some versatility over time.
“Teams thought I got too big to play shortstop,” he said, “so I lost 20 pounds.”
Mike Scioscia isn’t looking at Hall as a shortstop, however.
“Definitely second and third will be important. I don’t know so much about shortstop,” Scioscia said. “He’s got to play third and second. That’s important. First of all, we’ll see where his talent lines up. There will be a role for him on this club if he can.
“He can play the outfield too, for sure. There’s definitely an opportunity for Bill to come in and help us.”
He could help the Salt Lake Bees, too, and Hall said he’s willing to play at Triple-A again. Last year, he batted .246 with 15 home runs in 90 games for Norfolk of the International League, the Orioles’ top minor-league affiliate.
For what it’s worth, Hall said that 2006 is the last time he weighed 210 pounds. It’s also the year he hit 35 home runs.