9:51pm: Hill suffered a strained left MCL, Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times tweets. It’s not yet clear how much time he’ll miss, though it obviously doesn’t sound promising.
7:05PM: Hill’s outing only lasted six batters and two-thirds of an inning, as Jon Morosi reports (Twitter link) that Hill had a problem with his left knee. A strain to that same knee put Hill on the IL for the first month of the season.
2:10PM: The Dodgers have officially activated veteran left-hander Rich Hill from the 60-day injured list, as Hill will start tonight’s game against the Orioles. To create roster space, right-hander Jaime Schultz has been designated for assignment.
Hill last took the mound on June 19, as a flexor tendon strain sidelined him for close to half the season. As per the team’s plan to get Hill ready for the postseason, he’ll only throw two innings or 30 pitches tonight (essentially working as an opener) and then gradually build up his workload over four outings before the end of the season. If all goes well, Hill will be in line to take the fourth starter role for Los Angeles in the playoffs, behind Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Walker Buehler.
Hill has been no stranger to injuries over his career, and as per usual during the southpaw’s late-career renaissance, he has been very effective then he has been able to pitch. Hill had a 2.55 ERA, 5.08 K/BB rate, and 10.4 K/9 over 53 innings in 2019, also missing the first month of the season due to a knee sprain. Though his numbers included a career-high 1.7 HR/9 (perhaps not usual for any pitcher in this homer-happy season), Hill’s .265 xwOBA put him in the 91st percentile of all pitchers.
After tossing 30 1/3 innings for Tampa Bay in his rookie season, Schultz pitched only five innings over four MLB games for the Dodgers in 2019, spending the bulk of the year at Triple-A Oklahoma City. He had a 5.85 ERA over 47 2/3 Triple-A innings, though unlike many pitchers in the Pacific Coast League, homers weren’t the problem — Schultz had only an 0.6 HR/9, as the larger issue was a 5.1 BB/9, continuing the control issues that have bothered the 28-year-old for much of his pro career. Also as per the norm for the hard-throwing Schultz, he posted some strong strikeout numbers, whiffing Triple-A batters at a rate of 11.7 K/9.