JUNE 9: The Athletics have indeed placed Hill on the disabled list with a strained right groin, the team announced. The move is retroactive to May 30. Per John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group (via Twitter), Hill has yet to undergo his MRI, hence the lack of additional updates beyond the placement on the disabled list.
JUNE 8: Athletics lefty Rich Hill suffered a setback in his recovery from a groin strain during today’s 35-pitch bullpen session, he told reporters, including Joe Stiglich of CSN Bay Area (links to Twitter). According to Hill, he felt a pull on the 33rd pitch of his session. He’ll head back to Oakland tomorrow to undergo an MRI, per Stiglich, and manager Bob Melvin conceded that a trip to the disabled list is a strong possibility, tweets MLB.com’s Jane Lee. Similarly, the Bay Area News Group’s John Hickey tweets that a DL stint is likely. Hill has been sidelined since May 29, so the A’s would at least be able to backdate a DL stint to that point, reducing the minimum stay on the disabled list. However, the extent of Hill’s strain won’t be known until tomorrow’s MRI has been reviewed by the team’s medical staff.
The 36-year-old Hill has proven to be one of the best free-agent signings of the 2015-16 offseason, as he’s given the Athletics 64 innings of 2.25 ERA ball with 10.4 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and a 48.1 percent ground-ball rate. The one-year, $6MM contract he signed seemed risky at the time for a player with Hill’s injury history and limited recent track record, but he’s already made good on that contract and provided surplus value to the A’s.
A prolonged absence for Hill would deprive the A’s of their most effective starter and could also significantly impact Hill’s value on the summer trade market. With Oakland sitting in last place in the AL West and Hill’s status as a veteran on an affordable one-year deal, the left-hander is a prototypical trade candidate. MLBTR’s Jeff Todd recently listed him second when assessing the game’s top 10 trade candidates, noting that Hill’s dominance and affordable contract could make him appealing to virtually any team taking aim at the 2016 postseason. However, for a player that has already pitched more Major League innings this season than he has in any season since 2007, durability will be a focal point in any potential trade talks.