Hailing from Panorama City, California, standing at 6'5", and weighing 230 pounds, Hiljus was an intimidating presence on the mound, but lacked the control to pitch effectively on a regular basis. After four years in the New York Mets' and St. Louis Cardinals' organizations as a starter, Hiljus went down with a shoulder injury which cost him the whole 1997 season.
After the injury, Hiljus moved to the bullpen and enjoyed a measure of success. He averaged 12.27 strikeouts per nine innings for the Tigers' Double-A ball in 1998, but struggled in two stints with the big-league club in 1999 and 2000. In 2001, he made the A's after being invited to camp in as a non-roster invitee, and went 5-0 with a 3.41 ERA in 66 innings in his first full major-league season. (EPW)
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»June 30, 2001: Oakland defeats Texas, 15-4, as SS Miguel Tejada hits three home runs and a single and drives home eight runs. Tejada had gone 26 games without a homer before hitting a grand slam in the 1st, followed by a 3-run shot in the 2nd. He adds a solo in the 9th. Erik Hiljus is the benefactor, winning his first ML decision. Hiljus, also strikes out four batters in the 7th.
»July 22, 2001:
In the Marlins 11–7 win over the Reds, Cincy P Frankie Rodriguez strikes out four batters in one inning, the 7th. He's the 4th Reds hurler to do it. Earlier this season, Erik Hiljus of the Oakland A's turned the trick.
»September 22, 2001:
The Mariners lose their 3rd straight game for the 1st time all season, falling to the A's, 11–2. It also marks the first series the Mariners have lost on the road this year, ending their major-league record streak of 29 consecutive road series without a loss. Erik Hiljus (4-0) is the winner. Miguel Tejada and Eric Chavez hits solo home runs in the 7th as both reach the 100 RBI mark.