Dodgers left-hander Rich Hill is likely to miss “significant time” after slicing open a blister during his start Saturday, Pedro Moura of The Athletic tweets. “This is as bad as I’ve seen it,” manager Dave Roberts said of Hill’s long-running blister issues. Roberts added that the 38-year-old Hill will require a rehab assignment before returning to LA’s rotation, which indicates that a stint on the disabled list is a foregone conclusion. Prior to Saturday, when he exited after just two pitches, Hill had already gone on the DL multiple times in recent years on account of blisters. Hill’s injury – not to mention the absences of Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu – should keep righty Ross Stripling in the Dodgers’ rotation, as Roberts noted (via Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register) that “to have Ross as your sixth starter or whatever is a huge luxury for us.” Stripling has been highly effective as both a starter and a reliever this year, having combined for a 2.08 ERA/2.37 FIP with 10.34 K/9 against 2.34 BB/9 in 34 2/3 innings (15 appearances, four starts). [Update: Hill will miss at least four weeks, Roberts told Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times and other reporters.]
More pitching-related items…
- Royals lefty Danny Duffy logged yet another poor start Saturday, pitching 4 2/3 innings of five-run ball in a loss to the Yankees, and spoke frankly about his struggles afterward (via Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com). “Sometimes you’re not special at something. Right now I’m not special at pitching,” he said. “What are you going to do? Run from it with some phantom DL crap? I’m not going on the DL. I feel great. Do they want to talk about the bullpen? I don’t know. That’s their decision.” Duffy had been a more-than-capable starter for the Royals entering the year, having earned a $65MM extension prior to 2017, but has registered a woeful 6.88 ERA/6.48 FIP through 51 innings in 2018. The 29-year-old’s trade value may be nil at the moment, then, even though he was in demand across the league as recently as the offseason.
- The Cardinals have taken advantage of minor league options and the 10-day DL with their pitching staff this year, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explains. Specifically, the Cardinals have shuttled four pitchers with options – Mike Mayers, John Gant, John Brebbia and Jack Flaherty – between the majors and minors to quality results. The quartet has combined for a 3.28 ERA over 49 1/3 innings, and Mayers, Gant and Brebbia have formed “Voltron” in relief, Goold writes. Although the instability likely hasn’t been easy on those pitchers, both Mayers and Brebbia suggested to Goold that they understand the Cards’ plan. For his part, president John Mozeliak said that he’s not sure “if it’s going to become the new norm or not,” adding: ““It’s not intentional to do that. This is not us trying to manipulate any system. It’s just you look at the moves we have made and they’ve all been very logical. If you’re carrying 13 pitchers, it’s because you feel there’s some vulnerability there. I think a lot of this has been more circumstance. You play the hand your dealt.”
- The Rays will take yet another unconventional route with their rotation Sunday and start reliever Sergio Romo for the second straight game, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Before Saturday, when he worked a perfect, three-strikeout inning against the Angels in his first-ever start, the 35-year-old Romo had amassed 588 straight relief appearances. The Rays started Romo in order for their second pitcher, lefty Ryan Yarbrough, to avoid facing the top of the Angels’ lineup (an all-righty group) three times. The plan ended up working, as Yarbrough fired 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball en route to a win.