Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Rich Hill (53) pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the ninth inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE
Rich Hill has been out since early June with a flexor strain in his left forearm, and placement on the 60-day disabled list meant that that he would need to be out possibly even longer than his body necessitated. He's begun a rehab assignment, though, throwing 1-1/3 innings with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox since August 13, and will now see his rehab shift to Double-A Portland, starting Friday night.
The Red Sox waited for Hill to recover from Tommy John surgery earlier in the year, then brought him up in late April. Hill would throw 13-1/2 frames in relief before hitting the disabled list, striking out 11 and walking seven while allowing 30 percent of his inherited runners to score, displaying some of the command issues that TJ recipients tend to on their way back to normal.
By the time Rich Hill's rehab is over, assuming there are no setbacks, it will be very close to the time for expanded rosters. He'll need to be placed on the 40-man roster in order to remove him from the 60-day disabled list, but there will be room on the 25-man easily come September, given that whole concept evaporates as of the first of the month.
Hill would give the Red Sox yet another lefty in the bullpen, to go along with Andrew Miller and Craig Breslow. It's not a given Hill will be a difference maker in the majors just yet, but his minor-league numbers in relief have been eye-popping, and his 324 ERA+ and 9.1 strikeouts per nine in 25 innings with Boston suggest they should at least check it out to see.