Interview: Nick Hill

Former Army star Nick Hill was dominant last year, lights out, no doubt, the King of the Hill. In his first season of professional baseball, the lefty put up an 0.51 ERA in 18 games out of the bullpen, spanning 35 innings, for the Everett Aqua Sox of the Northwest League. Hill talked with earlier this week.

Hill, 23, could make a rapid rise through the Seattle Mariners' organization. He should start this season at mid or high-level Class A. Hill arrived to minor league camp in Peoria, Az. earlier this week.

AS: Were you surprised at how well you pitched as a rookie last season?
Nick Hill: I wouldn't say surprised, every time I go out there I expect to do good. The final results at the end, as low as they were, I was a little surprised. You still just have to go out there and throw strikes. I just went out there and did the same thing I did in college and I didn't have to worry about academics and different military stuff. That took a lot of pressure off me.

AS: Where do you want to start this season?
Nick Hill: Anywhere, as long as I get a chance to play. The biggest thing is, no matter where I go, I want to do the same thing I did last year and help the team. Bottom line, I have to pitch well. I'm not sure where they are going to start me.

AS: How much do you enjoy representing West Point and the U.S. Army?
Nick Hill: I'm truly honored. Being able to be in the Army and play baseball at the same time, I'm truly honored. I'm really fortunate and I'm thankful for this opportunity.

AS: The Mariners seem pretty high on you. How does that make you feel?
Nick Hill: It's an honor, hearing any praise like that. I just hope I can go out there and prove them right.

AS: Would you prefer to be a starter or reliever this season?
Nick Hill: I always started in college, I had to get used to the bullpen, but I had a blast out there last season. Your in so many games. But whatever they want me to do, I'd be happy to do either one for them.

AS: What was the biggest adjustment you had to make pitching on the pro level?
Nick Hill: You don't get away with as much stuff. You can't leave balls over the plate, you have to be more fine. You can get people out at any level, as long as you are changing speeds and hitting your spots. That's what I'm trying to do.

AS: When would you like to make the majors?
Nick Hill: Hopefully, sooner than later, whether it's this year, next year, two years down the road. It's really not up to me. I'm just trying to help whatever team I'm with and, hopefully, I will get up there.

AS: When it does happen, what do you think will be more exciting. Getting the call or suiting up for your first big league game.
Nick Hill: I'm sure the call would be pretty exciting. As soon as I hang up the phone, I'll be calling everyone I know. I'll go with the call. Top Stories