When the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Rich Hill from the Oakland Athletics at the trade deadline during the 2016 season, he was on the injured list because of a blister on his left middle finger.
Hill’s debut with the Dodgers didn’t come until three weeks after the trade. He nonetheless was re-signed to a three-year, $48 million contract and with that came optimism the blisters were merely trouble in the past.
However, Hill continued to be bothered by blisters during parts of the 2017 and 2018 seasons. He eventually overcame the issues but this year sustained a left knee strain and flexor tendon strain.
He again is a free agent, and not only older but also on the mend from surgery. According to David Vassegh of AM 570, Hill had the operation to address a portion of the UCL in his left elbow that became detached:
It shows what Rich Hill is all about and why his teammates love and respect him. Hill pitched with a detached UCL in his left arm the final month of the season. He had a procedure to reattach it and plans to begin throwing in January and will be ready to pitch for a team in June.
— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) November 25, 2019
There was concern when an MRI revealed Hill suffered a flexor tendon strain, as it often is a precursor to Tommy John surgery. The left-hander underwent the ligament-repairing operation in 2011.
Hill assured his UCL remained in good standing and therefore was confident a return during the season was feasible. His knee strain complicated matters but the 39-year-old was back on the mound in September.
Hill pushed through knee discomfort and allowed just one run on one hit while collecting 11 strikeouts agains six walks in 5.2 innings over three starts during the final month of the regular season.
The Dodgers entrusted Hill with a Game 4 start in the National League Division Series, but his command waned and he only managed to pitch 2.2 innings.
Hill previously made it clear he hoped to re-sign with the Dodgers, and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman acknowledged it could be a scenario that comes to fruition. Although Hill won’t be able to pitch until at least June of the 2020 season, the Dodgers’ depth could allow for them to withstand the wait if the veteran is re-signed.
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