Rich Hill was back on the mound for his first start since suffering a strained flexor tendon in his left forearm, but the return was brief as he failed to make it through the first inning. Hill exited with two outs and the Los Angeles Dodgers trailing the Baltimore Orioles.
As later relayed on the FOX broadcast, Hill experienced trouble with his left knee. He began the season on the 10-day injured list because of a sprain in the knee.
Hill was projected to complete two innings on Thursday, with Tony Gonsolin likely following him out of the bullpen. Instead, Adam Kolarek entered and he got the Dodgers out of a bases-loaded jam to keep their deficit at 1-0.
Hill’s night began with plenty of optimism as he struck out the first two batters faced but suddenly lost command. He then hit the third, issued a four-pitch walk, and hit another batter to load the bases.
Rich Hill experienced an issue with his left knee during the first inning and will undergo further examination, as I just reported on our @MLBONFOX telecast.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) September 12, 2019
That prompted Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and a trainer to check on Hill, whose body language throughout the inning suggested there was some level of discomfort. The veteran left-hander talked his way into remaining in the game, only to walk Austin Hays and bring in a run.
Roberts then emerged from the dugout with the hook. Hill threw 27 pitches in the abbreviated outing.
Although he managed to complete a throwing program without any setbacks over the past two months, Hill’s timeline did not align with that of the Minor League season. As a result, he was limited to bullpen sessions and simulated games.
Hill faced batters over two innings in a simulated game at Dodger Stadium last week, which paved the way for his return. Heading into the outing, Roberts had outlined a plan for 39-year-old to make four starts through September.
That was with the idea of stretching Hill out to be the club’s fourth starter come the postseason. Though after watching him labor against the Orioles, it’s certainly plausible the Dodgers will leave other options open.
Over the past several weeks they have continued to give starts to Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May, Ross Stripling and Julio Urias. All the while each has additionally pitched out of the bullpen as well.