SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 14: Relief pitcher Rich Hill #53 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 14 2010 in Seattle Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Good news today on the now hopelessly-lost injury front, as Ian M. Browne of MLB.com gives word that the Red Sox could see relievers Rich Hill and Scott Atchison back in action sometime after rosters expand.
Hill's attempt to return from last season's Tommy John surgery came to an abrupt end after 13.2 good innings in April due to elbow strain, and he hasn't been seen in these parts since. Since showing his rust in the Gulf Coast League with a couple of bad innings, however, Hill has been rolling through Triple-A competition, putting up eight innings of one-run ball allowing just three hits and two walks to ten strikeouts.
Hill has been something of a phantom hope for the Sox ever since showing how effective his first-choice curveball could be back in late 2010. He seemed set to fulfill those hopes in 2011 before the injury did him in after eight scoreless frames of work. Now he's just looking to reestablish his presence, perhaps with an aim to a minor league deal for 2013 if the Sox can't find room for him on the 25-man. He'd certainly be excellent depth to have around.
Scott Atchison, on the other hand, may have earned that 25-man spot with a ridiculous first half--assuming he can continue to dodge the Tommy John Surgery he seemed set for a couple months back. Browne quotes Bobby Valentine as being "hopeful" that Atchison can make it back this year. It would be nice to have an idea what needs to be done with the man given the difference a 1.76 ERA can make out of the bullpen.