Dodgers left-handed starting pitcher Rich Hill told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com prior to Friday night’s game that he can make as many as four starts in an effort to be a member of the club’s postseason rotation.
Hill said he can make four starts during the regular season to be available for the postseason.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) September 6, 2019
This is very good news considering the extent of the injury — an injury that kept Rich Hill sidelined for around three months. Hill has been said to be on his way back as early as next week, possibly making a start in the series against the Baltimore Orioles that starts on September 10.
There was initially chatter that Hill would be returning to the Dodgers in a relief capacity, but that has since been amended. He will in fact be returning as a starter in an effort to make the Dodgers’ playoff roster as the fourth starter.
According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, this plan is not entirely set in stone:
#Dodgers LHP Rich Hill said two-inning, 30-pitch simulated game went well. Plan is to start next Thursday in Baltimore and make four total starts this month. Plan to return as starter “and if that needs to be amended along the way we will.”
— Mike DiGiovanna (@MikeDiGiovanna) September 6, 2019
Prior to Friday night’s game, Hill also threw the simulated game as DiGiovanna mentioned, facing major league hitters Jedd Gyorko and Kristopher Negrón. He reportedly allowed a home run to Gyorko. Here is a video, courtesy of JP Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group, of the sim game:
This is Rich. Watch Rich pitch. Hear Rich grunt. #simgame pic.twitter.com/kZCMEWFY0R
— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) September 6, 2019
Before Hill went down with the flexor injury, he was pitching well for the Dodgers, posting a 2.55 ERA and 1.11 WHIP across 53 innings of work.
His addition to the pitching staff will undoubtedly be a huge boon and the hope is that he can make an impact in October, something he has done in huge ways each of the past two seasons.