Revs sign Hillenbrand

The York Revolution has made its biggest signing ever.

The Revs added infielder Shea Hillenbrand Tuesday, pending a physical and the completion of his contract. He is a player who has enjoyed a long major league career filled with many memorable outbursts in the national media.

Hillenbrand is perhaps best known for a 2006 dispute with Toronto manager John Gibbons that nearly became physical. Gibbons became irate after Hillenbrand wrote “This is a sinking ship” on a dry-erase board in the Blue Jays’ clubhouse. According to reports, Hillenbrand had refused to sit with his teammates in the dugout that night after he became displeased with his playing time. He was designated for assignment the same night.

The career .284 hitter (108 homers, 490 RBIs in 3,570 major league at-bats) also is remembered in Boston for his comments after the Red Sox traded him to Arizona in 2003 for Byung-Hyung Kim. Hillenbrand reminded his former team of the mistake it made in trading away perennial All-Star Jeff Bagwell years ago. He suggested the Sox had made a similar error in sending him packing.

Hillenbrand last played professionally in 2007 with the Angels, Dodgers and Padres. He started the year in the bigs with the Angels, hitting .254 in 53 games, but was again designated for assignment after Sports Illustrated quoted him as saying, “If I’m not going to play here, give me enough respect to trade me or get rid of me.” That’s exactly what the Angels did, and Hillenbrand ended up with the Padres Triple-A affiliate (Portland) where he hit .147 in nine games before his release. The veteran then was signed by the Dodgers and quickly got the call up to the majors for 20 games. He hit .243 in that span.

The Revs’ signing of Hillenbrand finally gives York a suitable third baseman and also brings a player who is certainly capable of hitting third or fourth in the lineup. But judging from his past, he could also alter a clubhouse chemistry that seems to be at a season-best lately.

Revolution manager Chris Hoiles dismissed that notion, however.

“I don’t think so,” Hoiles said when asked if there was a danger in signing Hillenbrand. “If he comes in with the same attitude that the rest of these guys have, he’ll better himself and try to make it back. Once he gets in this clubhouse and sees what’s going on right now, I think he’ll solidify third base and he’s another bat with more experience.”  

Hillenbrand is a career .312 hitter in the minor leagues and should be activated within the next 24 hours, according to Adam Gladstone, the Revolution’s director of baseball operations. Check the rest of his career numbers here.  

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2 Responses

  1. I couldn’t be more excited to see this…

    I can see the concern about the clubhouse, especially considering the way this team has come around lately, but adding a major league bat and glove will help this team win more games and winning tends to create good chemistry.

  2. This is no doubt a great move.

    But I also wonder how probable it is that he’ll perform to his potential AND somehow manage to stick around long enough to really boost the Revs.

    I think if he truly is focused on gettin back to the show, any possible clubhouse or “character” issues should easily be a non-factor.

    Hopefully the Revs can have a lot of fun with this while it lasts.

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