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Notes: Hill takes indefinite leave

Florida first-base coach to comfort his ailing wife

By David Briggs / MLB.com

 

The Marlins' Perry Hill has spent more than a decade as a Major League coach. (Victor Baldizon/Getty Images)

 

 

 

PITTSBURGH -- Perry Hill, the Marlins' first-base/infield coach and one of the game's most respected people, has taken an indefinite leave from the club to be at home with his ailing wife.

It is not known how long Hill, who also was away from the team earlier this season, will be absent, said manager Joe Girardi.

 

"I don't worry about time," Girardi said. "He just has something has to handle. ... Until everything's right at home, I'm sure he's not going to feel comfortable leaving."

 

Nobody, though, felt worse than Hill about leaving his "students."

 

"Perry loves this game, loves his players and he's very dedicated to the guys out there," Girardi said. "It was hard for him to leave. ... He felt like he was letting the team down. But I told him by no means is he doing that. There are some things that take precedent."

 

Hill, in his 14th season as a Major League coach, is in his fifth season with the Marlins. He is regarded as one of the game's best infield coaches.

 

"It's a good test for our guys," Girardi said. "Let's take what Perry taught you and work on it. To me, that's the way to show Perry respect. You don't lose sight of what he's done for you."

 

The skipper said the club will bring aboard a new coach to assume Hill's role. Then he paused.

 

"But Perry is, in a sense, irreplaceable."

 

Willis worried? Dontrelle Willis can be the clubhouse comic, but it's what he said straight-faced on Thursday night that was perhaps most laughable.

 

"I better start going out there and getting things done, or I might not have a job," Willis said after lasting 2 2/3 innings on Thursday against Atlanta, giving up seven runs.

 

Yes, Willis has struggled in losing a career-high four straight starts. But job security questions? With 47 career wins, the reigning National League Cy Young Award runner-up is just two shy of the franchise record.

 

"I'm still laughing about that," Girardi said.

 

But though he is not worried about Willis turning it around -- pitching effectively inside will ensure that -- Girardi is concerned with the burden he feels is on his young pitcher as the de facto staff leader.

 

"I worry about him trying to do too much," Girardi said. "You can't, as a player, take it all upon yourself when things don't go right. His start is no more important than anybody else's."

 

Kensing impresses: Logan Kensing finally had a debut to remember on Thursday night. The 23-year-old, who has just 19 1/3 big-league innings, was impressive after being recalled from the Minors for a third straight season.

 

"I felt good out there, like you've been there before, you know?" Kensing said.

 

It showed. Getting a third-inning call after Willis sputtered early, Kensing immediately retired Chipper Jones to halt any further damage. And in the fourth, Kensing retired the side by striking out Andruw Jones and Jeff Francoeur before inducing a Brian Jordan fly out.

 

"He threw great," Girardi said. "Get ahead, stay down and good things will happen."

 

The club's second-round pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft got the call from the Marlins on Wednesday after the club placed Franklyn German on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis.

 

Kensing's last two stints with the big club, including a jump from Class A to Wrigley Field to make an emergency start in 2004 for his Major League debut, largely were forgettable. He does not have designs on changing his approach this time around. It has, after all, worked at every other level of pro ball. Through 13 games at Triple-A Albuquerque, the right-hander was 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA over 18 innings coming out of the Isotopes' bullpen.

 

"You just do the same things as last time, but it's time to put up the numbers now," Kensing said. "Obviously the first few times didn't go so well, but I'm going to [try to] get it done this year."

 

Fish bits: The Marlins are 4-11 at PNC Park since the stadium opened in 2001, including a 1-8 mark over their last three trips to the Steel City. ... With Kensing's relief outing on Thursday night, he became the 13th Marlins rookie to see action this year. ... The Marlins' 33 runs after the sixth inning are the second fewest in baseball.

 

Coming up: Florida will send Scott Olsen (1-2, 5.32 ERA) to the mound on Saturday night as it faces Pittsburgh for the middle game of a weekend set at PNC Park. Pittsburgh ace Zach Duke (2-3, 4.00 ERA) will get the call for the Bucs, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.

 

David Briggs is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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It sound like it may be problems with a pregnancy

 

Hill leaves team to be with wife

By Joe Capozzi

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Saturday, May 13, 2006

 

PITTSBURGH ? Marlins infield coach Perry Hill has left the team for the second this season because of a family emergency, and the team doesn't know when or if he'll be back.

 

Hill, who has been credited by Mike Lowell and Orlando Cabrera for helping them win Gold Gloves, left the team after Thursday's home game against Atlanta.

 

Hill, who also is the team's first-base coach, returned home to Lantana, Texas, to be with his wife, who is pregnant. He left the team for 10 days in April to be with his wife.

 

"He felt bad about leaving again. He felt like he was letting the team down. I said, 'By no means are you doing that,' " manager Joe Girardi said.

 

"I told Perry, 'Go home and take care of your wife and call us when things are all right.' That's how we left it.''

 

Girardi, who discussed Hill's situation Thursday night with team President David Samson and General Manager Admin Beinfest, said the team has no idea how long Hill could be gone.

 

Hill, who could not be reached Friday, is under a contract that expires at the end of the season. He has the longest tenure with the Marlins' organization ? since 2002 ? of anyone on Girardi's coaching staff.

 

"When you're dealing with family, I don't worry about time. The right time is when everything's OK,'' Girardi said.

 

Hitting coach Jim Presley will fill in for Hill as first-base coach. If Hill's absence is extended, Girardi said the team would consider bringing in another coach "because we'd be short-staffed.''

 

Hill was working with an infield of Miguel Cabrera, who is playing third base full-time for the first time in his career, and three rookies.

 

"Perry, in a sense, is irreplaceable because he is so great at what he does,'' Girardi said.

 

Presley might be gone Wednesday and Thursday to attend his son's college graduation.

Palm Beach Post

 

I hope all of them will be ok.

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Hitting coach Jim Presley will fill in for Hill as first-base coach. If Hill's absence is extended, Girardi said the team would consider bringing in another coach "because we'd be short-staffed.''

 

...

 

Presley might be gone Wednesday and Thursday to attend his son's college graduation.

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