Dodgers southpaw Rich Hill laid out his plan for returning from a flexor tendon strain to reporters including Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). He’ll start on Thursday and plan to make four total regular-season outings in preparation for the postseason.
If the plan sounds somewhat optimistic, that’s probably somewhat by design. Hill says that he’s going to prepare as if he can fully ramp up down the stretch, without any rehab assignment. If adjustments are needed, they can be considered at the time.
Skipper Dave Roberts confirmed the general plan. He noted that Hill is likely only to throw two innings or thirty pitches in his preliminary outing, as Dodger Talk’s David Vassegh tweets. The ageless southpaw has been sidelined since late June, so he’s obviously in need of a gradual progression in terms of game action.
All things considered, this is excellent news for the powerhouse Dodgers. Hill was throwing brilliantly before he was injured. He could well make for a major addition to the postseason roster, even if he’s ultimately limited in how deep he can work.
This is also a notable development for the coming offseason market. Hill intends to keep playing and hopes to remain with the Dodgers, Andy McCullough of The Athletic reports as part of an excellent profile of the unique left-hander (subscription link). Hill’s health status will surely play a role in the way offseason talks unfold.
This news comes as the team deals with newfound struggles from fellow southpaw Hyun-Jin Ryu. The Dodgers will skip his next scheduled start, as DiGiovanna further tweets, in a bid to get the veteran some rest. On the positive side, it doesn’t seem as if there’s any health issue of note to worry about.