Results tagged ‘ Rich Hill ’

Hill rejoins Red Sox

Lefty Rich Hill has made it back to the Red Sox less than a year after undergoing Tommy John Surgery. Hill, the pride of Milton, Mass., will be activated by the Red Sox for tonight’s game in Chicago.

Justin Thomas will be taken off the roster.

If Hill can pitch for the Red Sox like he did last year, it could be a big boost for a bullpen that has struggled much of the season. Before injuring his elbow in 2011, Hill pitched nine times for the Red Sox, striking out 12 and not allowing a run over eight inning.

How will Pap fit in?

In light of the fact that Bobby Jenks will sign with the Red Sox, assuming he passes his physical, it’s fair to wonder how this move will impact Jonathan Papelbon, Boston’s closer of the last five seasons.

After being an All-Star for his first four seasons, Papelbon had a downturn in 2010. His 3.90 ERA was more than a run and a half higher than his previous high as a closer — 2.34 in 2008. The eight blown saves also represented a career high, topping his six from 2006. The 28 walks were a career high, as was the 3.76 walks per nine innings.

Then there were the other signs that he hasn’t slipped that much. For instance, his 10.21 strikeouts per nine inning ratio was his best since 2007, when he had a dominant 12.96. The opposing batting average was also very respectable, at .226. The velocity was also sustained for the most part, his fastball typically coming in at 95-96 as it has for much of his career.

Papelbon is a free agent after the season, and with Jenks now on board for two years, the Red Sox have options. Do you trade Papelbon, who is on the hook for nearly $11 million in 2011? I think Papelbon will end up staying because his trade value is low at this point, given his performance last year combined with his salary.

So do you start Papelbon as the closer, but have Daniel Bard or Jenks available to step in if it looks like a 2010 repeat? It’s hard to imagine Papelbon — given his strong personality — suddenly being reduced to setup man.

But there is bound to be an odd dynamic when he gets to Fort Myers. After all, it is well-documented that the Sox made a run at Mariano Rivera even before making the move for Jenks.

Once the Jenks signing becomes official, it will be interesting to hear what Theo Epstein will have to say regarding Papelbon’s role going forward. Of course, it needs to be noted that Jenks is also coming off the worst year of his career. Will one of these two closers bounce back? Will both of them? WIll neither?

Meanwhile, if the pieces fit together right, Papelbon-Jenks-Bard could be a filty 1-2-3 combo in the back end of the ‘pen. Epstein has also acquired Matt Albers, a groundball specialist who seems like more of a sixth or seventh inning guy. And lefties Rich Hill and Andrew Miller might have a shot to be a lefty in the bullpen, if Epstein doesn’t acquire one from outside the organization.Felix Doubront figures to be in the mix, too, perhaps even as the primary lefty.

Hill making an impression for next year

The Red Sox are in, what is for them, the rare position of being able to audition players for next year. Such is the case when postseason hopes consist of a mathematical miracle.

One veteran who could stick is lefty Rich Hill, the pride of Milton, Mass. Hill has looked good both times manager Terry Francona has called on him.

“Encouraging,” Francona said. “There’s  a lot there to like. There’s some depiction. Probably some of the reason there’s deception is probably the reason he’s having trouble
commanding at times. So, this is kind of  a free three weeks. I don’t’ mean
free, but you know what I’m saying. There’s a little bit of a — not extended look — 
but more than we would have had if we just brought him to Spring Training. So
hopefully he’ll get chance with [pitching coach] John [Farrell] and get like a head start on where he’s at, where it could go, because consistency going to be big. Because there’s some
things I like. If you’re a left-handed hitter, it doesn’t look real comfortable.”

A starting pitcher before undergoing surgery last May, Francona thinks that Hill has the stuff to make the transition to lefty reliever.

“Well when you look at the delivery and the breaking ball you certainly think
that,” Francona said. “But again you have to throw strikes. We’ve been bringing in [Dustin] Richardson in some of those situations and when you walk somebody it doesn’t really help. And that’s probably a lot to ask with Richardson.”

A new pitcher on the Hill

Just when we thought the Red Sox were done with roster moves, a new pitcher has arrived in Seattle, one with local ties.

His name is Rich Hill, and he is a left-handed pitcher from Milton, Mass. Hill was signed by the Sox as a Minor League free agent on June 1, and went 3-1 with a 3.74 ERA in 19 games — six starts — for Triple-A Pawtucket.

At one time, Hill was a pitcher the Chicago Cubs thought highly of. In 2007, he made 32 starts, going 11-8 with a 3.92 ERA.

But a torn labrum and subsequent surgery served as a prolonged road block. Hill has pitched just 19 games in the Majors since ’07. He is 30 years old.