LOS ANGELES >> Left-hander Rich Hill knew that when he went looking for work in 2015 it was going to be difficult to get a major league team to give him a chance because he wanted to go back to starting, which he had done the first five years of his career before becoming a reliever in 2010 for the Boston Red Sox.
So Hill signed with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League a little over a year ago. That began a journey that landed him back in the major leagues.
“I don’t think they (major league teams) would give me the opportunity to (start) at that time until I went out and proved myself again, and I did that in independent ball,” said Hill, who was recently acquired by the Dodgers in a trade.
Hill has been on the disabled list since the third week of July with a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand. It was thought that he might start Sunday against the Red Sox, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said before Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Boston that Brandon McCarthy will start because Hill had a small, yet different, blister appear on the same finger when he was playing catch Friday.
“There was a little remnant of a new-formed blister — a different part of the finger — but I think that with his recent history, we want to be cautious and push his start date back,” Roberts said. “So McCarthy will go on regular rest and Rich will be day to day.”
Before Roberts made that announcement, Hill said he might start, but that he didn’t know for certain. Roberts didn’t seem concerned.
After performing well at Long Island, Hill was signed by Boston in August 2015, went to its Triple-A Pawtucket team, was called up to the parent club and went 2-1 with an ERA of 1.55 in four starts. Hill signed with Oakland in the offseason and was 9-3 with an ERA of 2.25 before coming to the Dodgers.
Hill, who has undergone both shoulder and Tommy John surgery during his 12-year career, was asked if he has a sense of pride for not only getting back to the big leagues, but doing it with fine success.
He said that’s not the case. It’s more that he was astute enough to learn several things along the way that have been solid contributors to his return to The Show — stay within himself, stay in the moment and keep his nose to the grindstone.
“I don’t really think it’s a pride thing,” he said. “It’s more of a conscientious decision when you’re in that moment and staying in that moment.”
He’s not kidding.
“I enjoy it in the moment, I enjoy it during that pitch, when you execute a pitch,” Hill said. “That’s the kind of feeling that you want, and then you do it again and you do it again and you do it again. The more often you can have the ball come out of your hand the way you want to, the more success you’re going to have.”
Trayce Thompson update
Outfielder Trayce Thompson (back) was expected to go on a rehab assignment soon, but Roberts said Friday that he doesn’t expect to see Thompson until perhaps Sept. 1. Roberts said Saturday that Thompson did not re-aggravate his back injury. Rather, he just wasn’t responding all that well to treatment.
“So we did a little bit more imaging and I don’t know the exact diagnosis, but there was stuff prior that we wanted to kind of calm down,” Roberts said. “So with the back, we took a step back on his rehab. I think now it’s limited, if any, baseball activity. But we’re just trying to stabilize his core and back.”
This and that
Right-hander Bud Norris went on the disabled list with a Grade 1 back strain. “We don’t have a date as to when he’ll return,” Roberts said. ... The Dodgers recalled right-hander Ross Stripling, who made Saturday’s start. ... Southpaw Brett Anderson (back), on the 60-day disabled list, is expected to make his next rehab assignment Monday with Triple-A Oklahoma City. “Brett just threw a ‘pen today and really looked good,” Roberts said.
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