Hill: 'I am 100 percent healthy'

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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.

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Never say never?

While Red Sox officials said at the team's annual Winter Weekend at Foxwoods on Saturday that they'd be traveling to the Dominican Republic to talk to David Ortiz about a role with the team, Pedro Martinez told WEEI he sees Big Papi returning to his old role - designated hitter - this season.

CSN's Trenni Kusnierek and WEEI's John Tomase talked to Martinez on their show Saturday at Foxwoods and Martinez said his old teammate would be making a comeback despite the long, emotional farewell tour last season. 

For the full interview with Martinez, click here.

Red Sox executives Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and Dave Dombrowski made no mention of Ortiz returning as a player when talking about their Dominican trip. Ortiz has repeatedly said he is going to stay retired. 

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- While there’s a deal of anticipation going into Spring training with the four Killer B’s, David Price and Pablo Sandoval’s shot at redemption and Rick Porcello looking to be something similar to his 2016 self, there’s one name that trumps them all.

Chris Sale.

The lankly lefty received an ovation from fans at the Friday night Town Hall, kicking off Red Sox Winter Weekend. With his consistent success, there’s reason to be excited.

But there’s also reason for apprehension given the way Sale’s departure from Chicago was depicted. But he’s made sure to clear the air.

“I wouldn’t say . . . ya know . . . I loved my time in Chicago,” Sale said when asked if it was time to leave the Windy City. “My best baseball memories are there [and] will be there forever. I love the city; I love the people in the organization.

“It was time for both sides to do something different, I guess. I talked to (White Sox Senior V.P.) Rick on the phone, I talked to (White Sox pitching coach Don) Coop (Cooper). We’re all cool, it’s fine. We understand where both of us are, it happens in baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chicago.”

He didn’t seem irritated discussing the issue, and certainly wasn’t timid -- we all know that’s not in his DNA.

He genuinely seems excited to deal with the large sum of Sox fans and to call a new place home -- in a city his wife’s fond of no less.

But ultimately, he’s focused on winning, nothing else.

“Every time I’m out there it’s gonna be all I got,” Sale said. "Every time, no matter what. Can promise you that.”