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posted: 5/20/2012 12:01 AM

Hill thrilled about returning to Cubs

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  • White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski (12) congratulates Dayan Viciedo (24) after his two-run home run as the Cubs' Koyie Hill looks on Saturday during the third inning at Wrigley Field.

      White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski (12) congratulates Dayan Viciedo (24) after his two-run home run as the Cubs' Koyie Hill looks on Saturday during the third inning at Wrigley Field.
    Associated Press

 
 

The Cubs said hello again to an old friend Saturday when they traded for veteran catcher Koyie Hill.

Not only did No. 1 catcher Geovany Soto undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Friday, but backup Welington Castillo will be out 4-7 days with a sprained MCL of his right knee.

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The 33-year-old Hill, who spent all or parts of five seasons with the Cubs from 2007-11, was playing for the Cincinnati Reds' Class AA Pensacola affiliate. The Cubs acquired him for cash considerations. Hill was 8-for-41 (.195) this season in Double-A.

Hill was asked if it's funny how the game works at times.

"You know what?" he said. "It's crazy. It's beautiful. It's frustrating. It's rewarding. It's anything. But there were some thoughts that went through my head that have never gone through my head before. We've had a nice run at it.

"The next thing you know, you're trying to catch a 22-year-old guy who throws half his pitches off the backstop. You're thinking, 'Surely, there's got to be something else I could do at home and see my girls every day.' Don't leave anything on the table."

Cubs president Theo Epstein said the Cubs' familiarity with Hill played a part in trading for him, saying that the team had suffered through a "catcher-injury-of-the-day epidemic going around."

"We went from catcher being a position of relative depth to a relative scarcity for us here," Epstein said.

The Cubs also recalled right-hander Randy Wells from Class AAA Iowa to help in the bullpen. He fills the spot of Kerry Wood, who retired. The Cubs will need to make a move Tuesday, when they recall lefty Travis Wood to start at Houston.

Getting the flavor:

Theo Epstein got his first taste of the Cubs-White Sox rivalry this weekend.

"Really solid rivalry," he said. "When I was with the Red Sox, we didn't have a really intense interleague rivalry with anybody.

"All of our rivalries were in the division, basically with the Yankees. I've never really looked forward much to interleague play. But it definitely lived up to everything I heard about it. There was great spirit around the ballpark and a lot of intensity in the game, especially the eventful game that it was (Friday)."

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