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.

Quotes, notes and stars: Wright "today was tough"

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Quotes, notes and stars: Wright "today was tough"

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 10-3 loss to the Rangers:

 

QUOTES

* “On a night when he didn’t have the consistency to the knuckleball that we’ve seen from many of his starts, he went to his fastball a little bit more. [Against] a good fastball hitting team . . . He’s typically made good adjustments staying over the rubber to get his release point out front -- that wasn’t the case [tonight].” John Farrell said about Steven Wright struggling with his knuckleball in his 4.2 inning outing.

* “The ball was spinning a lot out of my hand. It was a little bit hard to grip the ball because the humidity. But it was the opposite -- it was real sticky. That’s the first time I’ve had that ever. But I still felt like I should have figured that out. It was one of those things where I think I started trying to hard . . . I was trying to the throw the kitchen sink at them but it wasn’t working.” Steven Wright said about struggling to find his knuckleball in the 10-3 loss.

* “It’s hard for me because you want to go out there and try and go as deep as you can to try to help the bullpen, but, you know, today was tough, a tough day for me.” Wright said on his disappointment with only going 4.2 innings.

 

 

NOTES

 

* Hanley Ramirez laced his fourth homerun in his last 11 games. In his nine career games at Texas, Ramirez has six homeruns.

* David Ortiz went hitless for the first time since June 12th. Boston’s designated hitter also hasn’t hit a home run since June 17th -- his third longest homerless spell of 2016.

* Xander Bogaerts scored his 57th run of the season, putting him one run behind Ian Kinsler -- the fourth highest total in the majors.

 

 

STARS

 

1) Adrian Beltre

The ex-Red Sox third baseman finished 2-for-4 with an RBI, a walk -- scoring the team high three runs.

 

2) Ian Desmond

Desmond laced his 13th homer of the season in his second at-bat of the game, sparking Texas’ offense with its first run of the game.

 

3) Elvis Andrus

Andrus ended Steven Wright’s day quickly with a three-run triple in the fifth inning, finishing 1-for-2 with two walks and a run.

First Impressions from Boston's 10-3 loss to Texas

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First Impressions from Boston's 10-3 loss to Texas

First impressions of the Red Sox 10-3 loss to Texas:

 

Steven Wright can’t be stellar every night.

Although it’s seemed like it lately, it’s just not possible -- especially with a knuckleball.

He wasn’t even that bad Saturday night. He just didn’t get any help from his defense in the fifth frame.

But there’s no denying he didn’t have his best stuff. But whatever the reason, he couldn’t find consistent command or movement from his knuckler and he gave up some hard hits as a result.

Did he receive a fate worse than he pitched? Yes. But what Boston saw from Wright in his Saturday start is there will be times his go-to pitch is off -- and there’s really no way to work around that.

 

Hanley Ramirez’s “timing issue” seems to be coming around.

Although he hasn’t necessarily caught fire, Ramirez hit another home run -- once again to right field.

He’s shown more patience at the plate, and not trying to pull every ball out of the yard.

Ramirez doesn’t have everything completely figured out, but his homeruns have been plenty valuable at this point.

 

Ian Desmond is no joke.

The newly converted centerfielder is 5-for-10 against Boston pitching this series with a run and two RBI.

The ex-Nationals shortstop has good pop and good speed still. He seems to be a lot more comfortable in his new home after hitting .233 for Washington last year with 19 homeruns -- hitting his 13th Saturday night.

 

For all the criticisms Boston’s bullpen has received, the Rangers’ is definitely worse.

Although there wasn’t the same miraculous comeback witnessed Friday night -- and Boston’s pen wasn’t particularly stellar in the loss -- the Ranger relievers did not look good in the second game of the series.

They put themselves into deep counts right away -- and was lucky Boston’s offense was off.

Boston’s bullpen has its faults -- no question -- but it’s not nearly as bad as the one in Texas.

 

The Red Sox unfortunately have to rely on Clay Buchholz Sunday.

The bullpen is beaten down once again. The righty is still fighting for his job, so this would be the best time for him to pitch competitively into the sixth inning -- and maybe even longer.

Saturday's Red Sox-Rangers lineups: Wright tries to stay on roll

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Saturday's Red Sox-Rangers lineups: Wright tries to stay on roll

Knuckleballer Steven Wright will try to stay on a roll, as will the Red Sox, as they continue their three-game series tonight (9:20) against the Rangers in Arlington, Texas.

Wright (8-4, American League-leading 2.01 ERA) faces Rangers right-hander A.J. Griffin (3-0, 2.94), in his first start since coming off the 15-day disabled list.

The Red Sox rallied to win the series opener 8-7 with a four-run ninth inning.

The lineups:

RED SOX
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Travis Shaw 3B
Bryce Brentz LF
Christian Vazquez C
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Steven Wright RHP

RANGERS
Shin-Soo Choo RF
Ian Desmond CF
Nomar Mazara LF
Adrian Beltre 3B
Prince Fielder DH
Roughned Odor 2B
Elvis Andrus SS
Mitch Moreland 1B
Robinson Chirinos C
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A.J. Griffin RHP