Dodgers southpaw Rich Hill is working his way back to the mound this year, with plans for more, as Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports. The veteran hurler is presently on the 60-day injured list with a flexor strain but says he has now begun a throwing program.
Hill is still a month away from possible activation, but it’s encouraging to hear that he’s already beginning to move in a positive direction. There was initial concern that he had suffered a catastrophic injury, but Hill says those fears subsided rather quickly. Now, he’s “anxious to get started again.” It certainly seems as if the near-term outlook is rather optimistic.
Once he does get back going, Hill has no plans to stop. “I want to play as long as I can,” he says, though he acknowledges there’s always some uncertainty when it comes to health.
Hill’s contract expires after the present season. He’ll be eligible for a qualifying offer, which could well be a possibility given how well he has pitched when available. Hill has made between twenty and twenty-five starts annually since 2016 and won’t even reach that level this year, but he’s sporting a 2.93 ERA since the start of his stunning rebirth in late 2015.
So, how might the future look? “It could be one of those things where I go year to year,” says Hill, though he adds that he’s “not 100 percent sure” what form his next contract will take.
As for location, there are also some notable hints. “[H]opefully I can stay in L.A.,” says Hill, who says he relishes the competitive success the Dodgers have had in his time there. The club has made good use of Hill, with an approach that embraces his occasional absences and even views them as a means of keeping him at top form when he is active.
Of course, there’s also a strong pull to Boston. Not only did he launch his comeback with the Red Sox, but Hill’s family still resides there. He cited a desire to keep his son around the professional game as part of his plan for continuing to pitch, while also bemoaning the lack of time with his family once school starts. Boston “has always been home,” says Hill, who otherwise cites “a chance to compete” as the “biggest” draw in his future.
It certainly seems that his current and former organizations hold plenty of allure to the 39-year-old Hill, who may well be set up for a remarkable (and lucrative) run past forty years of age. “I feel like I have a lot of good pitching left in me,” he says.