FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Six quick hits on Bill Hall, new Red Sox utilityman:
1. The King and I: Hall was born in Tupelo, Miss., birthplace of Elvis Presley. He grew up in Nettleton, Miss., a town of 1,932, according to the 2000 census, and home also to Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Jason Ferguson.
2. K-rations: Hall has struck out 372 times in 1,190 at-bats, the most among any player with 1,200 or fewer at-bats. He's one of only three major leaguers with 300 or more Ks in 1,200 or fewer at-bats. Hall has whiffed in 31.3 percent of his at-bats over the last three years. That’s not much behind Ryan Howard, who leads the majors in whiffs in that span (584 in 1,755 at-bats), a 33.3 percentage.
3. Paid back with interest: Hall has started games at all three outfield positions and second, third and short in the infield. The outfield glove he brought to camp: A Mike Cameron model. “I borrowed one from him last year,’’ said Hall, who played with Cameron in Milwaukee.
“I’m used to playing all those positions,’’ Hall said. “The only position I need extra work at is shortstop. I haven’t played there since ’06, so the Red Sox are going to move me in slowly. The rest of them, I’m used to.
“I’m definitely not the greatest outfielder, but I’m not going to embarrass anybody. I think I’m an above-average outfielder.’’
4. The Beltre connection: Hall was acquired by Seattle from Milwaukee after Adrian Beltre sustained a gruesome injury, a testicular contusion that knocked him out of the lineup for 18 days. But in 34 games with the Mariners, Hall spent most of his time in the outfield, playing in 30 games there while appearing at just three at third base.
“I wasn’t in many trade talks at the time,’’ Hall said. “Four days before it happened, I was talking to [Mariners manager Don] Wakamatsu, who said he was thinking about a few things -- moving [second baseman Jose Lopez] to first base and Figgie [newly acquired Chone Figgins] back to second and let me play third.
“But then Theo [Epstein] came in and said he wanted me.’’
The Red Sox traded first baseman Casey Kotchman for Hall, with the Mariners agreeing to pay $7.15 million of his $8.4 million salary in 2010.
“Obviously Seattle would rather keep Lopie at second base and get a first baseman,’’ Hall said. “And when Theo called me, he said, ‘I’ve been trying to get you for three years.’
“I had a great time in Seattle and thought I fit in perfect, but to come into this situation, I was excited when I heard the news.’’
5. Straddling the Mendoza Line: Hall batted a career-low .201 last season with just eight home runs, a far cry from the .270 with 35 homers he hit in 2006 with Milwaukee. If a pitcher threw a first-pitch strike to Hall last season, Hall was all but cooked; he batted just .122 (20 for 164). He also was helpless as a pinch-hitter: 0 for 7, five whiffs.
The Sox would like to use him against some left-handers in right field and sit J.D. Drew. Hall is batting .270 in his career against lefties, but last season batted just .223 against lefties, with three home runs in 130 at-bats.
6. In a perfect world …: Hall would be a Jerry Adair, the '67 model, but one who could also play the outfield. At the time Adair was acquired from the White Sox in 1967, he was batting a measly .204. With the Red Sox, Adair became an invaluable utilityman, hitting .291 in 89 games.
A year later, Adair hit .216 and was gone.