Valentine: Rich Hill To Miss "A Month Or More"

Boston, MA USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Rich Hill (53) throws a pitch in the sixth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park. The Red Sox defeated the Tigers 6-3. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE

Boston won't have to worry about overcrowding in their bullpen for at least another month, according to manager Bobby Valentine. That's because lefty Rich Hill, who was placed on the disabled list with elbow stiffness this past weekend, is suffering from a strained flexor muscle in his left elbow.

Hill had Tommy John surgery on the same elbow last year, and went to see the surgeon who performed the procedure, Dr. James Andrews, for a diagnosis on the current problem. Luckily for Hill, this seems unrelated to his Tommy John, so there isn't a problem with the repaired ligament. It's still a step back in his trying to remain a major-league pitcher, though.

This leaves Boston with two lefties instead of three, as Andrew Miller and Franklin Morales are the southpaws left standing. Morales has been used in long relief as of late, and has pitched well in the role -- the Red Sox might have switched Morales and Atchison in those roles, given Atchison's success in higher-leverage outings -- while Miller has been excellent in his 12-2/3 innings in the majors this year: he has struck out 15 batters in those frames, walking just three, and has given up just six hits and three runs.

Mark Melancon was already called up to fill the void in the bullpen, and relievers seems to be the one thing Boston isn't short on supply of. Junichi Tazawa, Clay Mortensen, and possibly even Mark Prior and Alex Wilson are all in Pawtucket should someone else go down. Because of this depth, there's little need for the Red Sox to rush Hill back.

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