Cubs catcher Koyie Hill: One injury shouldn’t affect rules
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org May 26, 2011 10:02PM
Chicago Cubs Carlos Pena, left, high-fives Blake DeWitt as New York Mets catcher Josh Thole looks on, after Pena hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning of a baseball game, Thursday, May 26, 2011, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Jim Prisching)
Updated: July 7, 2011 1:49PM
Cubs catcher Koyie Hill, who still has four screws in his ankle from a home-plate collision seven years ago, said violent hits are part of the game for a big-league catcher and disagrees with Buster Posey’s agent that Major League Baseball should change its rules about plays at the plate.
Posey, the San Francisco Giants’ Rookie of the Year catcher and cleanup hitter, is likely out for the year after suffering a broken ankle and ligament damage in a gruesome collision with the Florida Marlins’ Scott Cousins on Wednesday night.
‘‘You hate to see people get hurt, but every time somebody gets hurt, that doesn’t mean you need to change the rules,’’ said Hill, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury in a collision with the Pittsburgh’ Pirates’ Ty Wigginton while with the Arizona Diamondbacks in August 2004. ‘‘Those are the risks we take when we all take the field.
‘‘For the most part, whether we like it or not, we’re . . . man enough to accept those responsibilities. And sometimes you take a pretty good licking. There’s a lot of guys that go back there every day that are willing to take that risk.’’
Hill stayed in the game after his ’04 collision to get the final two outs of the inning. He didn’t learn the severity of his injury until afterward.
His hat’s off to Zambrano
With a game-time temperature of 42 degrees — which felt like the 30s with wind chill — Hill thought about wearing a stocking cap under his helmet Thursday.
‘‘But my guy’s got no sleeves, so I couldn’t have a stocking cap on,’’ Hill said of Carlos Zambrano, who also showed no signs of the ‘‘stiff neck’’ the team said he saw the team doctor for afterward. ‘‘He’s not one to complain about it. He’s got a job to do out there, and he takes a lot of pride in it. I’ve been around him for long enough, and the last eight, nine months, he’s been about as focused and concentrated as I’ve seen him.’’
Outfielder Tony Campana had three hits in his major-league starting debut, which began with a pair of sliding catches in the first inning.
‘‘That kind of broke the nerves and started the whole thing for me,’’ he said.
◆ The first of two scheduled minor-league rehab games for catcher Geovany Soto (groin) was rained out in Tennessee on Thursday. That could back up his expected return by a day, until Sunday.
◆ Four of the Cubs’ last five home games have been delayed, shortened or postponed because of rain, including a 31-minute delay before Thursday’s game.