Hill: 'I am 100 percent healthy'

790896.jpg

Hill: 'I am 100 percent healthy'

Rich Hill, the Greater Boston native and hockey fan, is glad to have the Bruins back in action. During the lockout, he and his 16-month-old son, Brice, got their hockey fix watching the World Junior Championships and other non-NHL forms of hockey.Hes running around, swinging the bat, getting ready to get out on the ice, Hill said of Brice. He wants to play hockey. He likes all hockey.But Hill makes his living pitching. And with pitchers and catchers set to report to spring training for most teams in about two weeks, Brices dad is still waiting.Ive been working out, throwing, the left-hander said by phone Wednesday afternoon. I got off the mound. I get off the mound again tomorrow. So itll be three times and another time probably on Saturday and then hopefully its somewhere warmer than Boston. But well see.Hill, like last year, was non-tendered by the Red Sox this offseason, becoming a free agent again. Last year, the Sox soon brought him back on a minor league contract.After Tommy John surgery in June 2011, Hill, who turns 33 in March, began last season on the disabled list, making his debut on April 29. He appeared in 17 games, spanning 13 23 innings, going 1-0 with a 2.63 ERA before missing 75 games with a left elbow strain. He came back on Sept. 1, appearing in eight games, spanning six scoreless innings, giving up five hits and four walks with 10 strikeouts.In all last season, Hill appeared in 25 games, spanning 19 23 innings, in 2012, posting a record of 1-0 with a 1.83 ERA, six holds, a 1.424 WHIP, and a 1.91 strikeouts-to-walks ratio. Of his 25 appearances, 22 were scoreless, 16 were hitless, and nine were perfect.This offseason, though, is not like last for Hill.Last year was a lot more certainty than there is this year, he said. Which is kind of a surprise being 100 percent healthy, feeling as good as I do and demonstrating, obviously last year coming back in September and pitching well. And really every time Ive gone out there Ive pitched well. Its just obviously staying on the field and being healthy. Thats the big thing. Right now I dont see that as a concern at all.His health is not an issue, he said. He believes he showed that in September.Just the coming off Tommy John surgery, coming back in pretty fast time and being able to pitch successfully and have something like we had last year with the flexor strain, he said. But to be able to come back as healthy as I have been this offseason, there havent been any hold backs or anything of the sort. And I hate to sit here and talk about health because its just really starting to become redundant.Since joining the Sox as a minor league free agent in June 2010, Hill has been one of their most effective left-handed relievers. In three seasons with the Sox, he has allowed just four earned runs over 31 23 innings in 40 appearances, going 2-0 with a 1.14 ERA, the best in team history among pitchers with at least 25 innings.Hill has talked with several teams.
Theres a lot of interest circulating all offseason, he said. But its just finding the right situation, really.But his communication with the Sox this offseason has been limited.A little bit, he said. I talked to new manager John Farrell a couple times. Havent heard back yet. But I talked to him over the phone and saw him at a pitching talk in Falmouth. But then havent really talked to him.Hill last talked to Farrell at a fundraiser for the Falmouth Commodores of the Cape Cod League earlier this month.Any time you can talk about pitching in January, its always fun, he said.His elbow is completely healthy now, he said, and he has no restrictions on throwing. He is on a normal program, with no restrictions.Last year I wasnt restricted from anything at all, either, he said. Because I was healthy I mean healthy in regards to a person whos going to go into the gym and work out, not in regards to a pitcher whos getting ready to start a major league season. That had to be built up last year. The throwing program was obviously build, build, build. And then now where Im at, thats in my rear-view mirror and everythings working up from here.Teams, he said, have not been asking about his health.No, theyre not really concerned about the health, he said. I think its just the amount of time spent on the field as off the field, unfortunately. Because of things that are out of my control with injuries that have happened, its just part of it. But there hasnt been any concern as far as whether Im healthy or not. Just a matter of showing over an entire season. But I do understand on one hand. But on the other hand, for my own reasons, I say Im healthy now and I feel that Im very capable of staying on the field for an entire season.Its just the whole health question is kind of non-existent any more, as far as knowing that I am 100 percent healthy.His elbow feels so good, in fact, that he would consider going back to being a starter, something he hasnt done at the major league level since 2009, when he made 14 appearances, 13 starts, with the Orioles.I do feel that good, he said. With that said, I dont know if thats something that would happen again. Just giving me the option of whatever that would be, going to the minor leagues and start. But that would mean passing up the opportunity of relieving in the big leagues. So, you kind, its just something that Ive thought about because, geez, I feel this great, and when you feel that good this is something that maybe I want to do again. But on the other hand, why?Especially when he seemed to have found a role in the bullpen.Yeah, he said. I feel like I found a niche. I found something that obviously Im good at, coming out of the bullpen and pitching successfully out of the bullpen. And I like pitching out of the bullpen.He believes it is something he will be doing again soon. He isnt concerned. He believes that, being healthy, something will come through.There are things that are out there, he said. Im not nervous about getting a job, because I am healthy. Even if -- lets say worst-case scenario you dont sign anywhere -- Im 100 percent healthy and convinced that if I did go out and pitch, wherever it might be, somebody would see that and say OK, we need to sign this guy. Thats how I see it.

Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz the oldest to hit 30 home runs in a season

red_sox_david_ortiz_082416.jpg

Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz the oldest to hit 30 home runs in a season

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays:

QUOTES:

"It's one of those freak things. You don't plan on it happening, but it's one of those things. So we'll just see what the results say and move on from there.'' - Andrew Benintendi on his knee injury.

"That's kind of a routine 3-1 play. Unfortunately, it comes at a time when you've got two outs and a guy on the move. But that's a routine play.'' - John Farrell on the deciding play in which Heath Hembree couldn't hold onto the ball at first.

"I felt good. I felt strong.I felt good out there the whole game.'' - Rick Porcello, asked how he felt going back out for the eighth inning.

"I think everybody in the ballpark knew that that ball was leaving.'' - Porcello, on the hanging curveball to Evan Longoria.

 

NOTES:

* The loss snapped a five-game winning streak against the Rays for the Red Sox.

* Three of the four Red Sox walk-off losses this season have occurred because of errors.

* The homer by Evan Longoria was his first off Rick Porcello in 40 career at-bats.

* Rick Porcello has now pitched seven innings or more in six straight starts, the longest run for a Red Sox starter since John Lackey did it in 2013.

* David Ortiz is now the oldest player to ever hit 30 homers in a season

* Ortiz has now reached the 30-homer, 100-RBI level 10 times with the Red Sox, including the last four years in a row.

* The loss was the first of Heath Hembree's career, in his 67th major league appearance.

* Dustin Pedroia tied a career high with two stolen bases, the 12th time he's swiped two bases in the same game.

 

STARS:

1) Evan Longoria

The Rays were down to their final five outs when Longoria struck, hitting a game-tying homer off Rick Porcello.

2) Brad Miller

Miller's two-run double in the third enabled the Rays to stay close until Longoria's homer tied things up five innings later.

3) Rick Porcello

Porcello gave the Sox length and was brilliant in getting out of some early jams before settling in through the middle innings.

 

Shaughnessy: Everything Farrell does blows up in his face, particularly in 8th inning

Shaughnessy: Everything Farrell does blows up in his face, particularly in 8th inning

Dan Shaughnessy joins Sports Tonight to discuss Rick Porcello giving up a game-tying homerun in the 8th, and explains why John Farrell has been very unlucky with any decision he makes.

First impressions: Benintendi injured in Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Rays

rays_celebration_082416.jpg

First impressions: Benintendi injured in Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays:

 

The injury to Andrew Benintendi looked ominous.

Benintendi's left leg buckled as he tried to elude a tag on the bases in the seventh inning. He left the game with the help of two trainers, hobbling badly.

The Sox later announced that Benintendi suffered a left knee sprain, and will be further evaluated Thursday.

It's impossible to determine how serious the injury is. The prognosis could be anywhere from a few days, to, potentially, a season-ending issue.

Regardless, it's a blow to the Sox, who clearly have benefited from Benintendi's athleticism and energy in the three weeks since he's been promoted from Double A.

 

Rick Porcello is gobbling up innings in the second half.

Porcello gave the Sox 7 2/3 innings Wednesday night, allowing three runs. It marked the sixth straight start in which Porcello provided the Sox with a minimum of seven innings.

Through the end of June, Porcello had pitched seven or more innings just four times. Since the start of July, he's done it seven times -- and came within an out of doing it in another start.

Porcello also extended his streak of pitching at least five innings to 34 straight starts, dating back almost a calendar year to Aug. 26 of last year. Of those 34, he's pitched at least six in 31 of those.

In fact, Porcello leads the majors in innings pitched since that streak began.

 

David Ortiz continues to amaze

In the first inning, Ortiz walloped a pitch into the right field seats for his 30th homer, giving the Sox a 2-0 lead three batters into the game.

The homer was significant beyond that, too. With it, Ortiz reached two milestones -- 30 homers and 100 RBI for the season.

It marked the fourth straight season in which Ortiz has reached both, and it also marked the 10th time as a member of the Sox that he had hit both plateaus.

The homer also meant that Ortiz is now the oldest player - at 40 years, 280 days old -- to hit 30 homers in a season. And finally, it gave Ortiz 100 RBI seasons with the Sox, passing Ted Williams, with whom he had shared the record of nine.

And, remarkably, there's more than a month left in the season to add on to those achievements.