Aaron Hill plans to learn from mistakes


, Last Updated: 9:35 PM ET

DUNEDIN For a lot of ballplayers, the best cure for a season like the one endured by Aaron Hill last year is a double-dose of amnesia.

While hes not exactly revelling in the memories of a season where he batted 65 points below his career average and suffered an OPS drop of 165 points, hes not planning to disregard them, either.

Ive always felt like Ive learned more from my mistakes and bad things that have happened in my life, said Hill Thursday at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.

Ive always taken more from those kinds of experiences than from the good times and from that standpoint, Im going to learn more from that than any year so far.

It began with a hamstring injury on opening day, an injury that was compounded when he probably returned too quickly and kept tweaking it all season.

That was part of it but Hill blames some bad habits that crept into his swing mechanics and just wouldnt go away.

I got a little too pull-happy, he said. Ive always been a pull-the-ball kind of guy but theres a right way and a wrong way to do it. I just got in a funk early and never got back because I just dug myself into a deep hole.

In a funk

When Im at my best, Im taking my line drives to centre and right-centre. Even the year when I hit 36 home runs, I was true to myself but last year I was just wide open and pulling everything.

It wasnt any fun and it tested me mentally. I know that wasnt me. Im looking forward to get back out for a brand new start this year.

Hill, at the ripe old age of 28, finds himself in the strange position of being one of the Blue Jays senior citizens.

Somehow I became one of the old guys, he said. I dont know how that happened. The old guys on the team are supposed to be 10-plus years.

But young is not always bad. Yes, it means inexperienced and a lot of these guys have a lot to learn about making adjustments on a day-to-day basis but at the same time, not as much is expected.

What we need to do is a lot of little things that we havent done. Things like getting the runner over, stealing a base. I like what (manager John Farrell) is saying about being more aggressive on the basepaths. Since Ive been here, weve never had that approach.

Anything we can do to put pressure on the other team is a good thing.