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.

David Ortiz re-enacts Boston movie scenes as part of charity video

David Ortiz re-enacts Boston movie scenes as part of charity video

As part of a charity promotion with Omaze, David Ortiz has made a video re-enacting scenes from Boston-set movies. 

The movies range from a classic -- "Good Will Hunting" -- to very good crime movies -- "The Departed, The Town" — to the just plain bad "Fever Pitch," but all of the scenes are entertaining. Ortiz plays every part in each scene, often playing to characters interacting with one another. 

At the end of the video, a link is given to Omaze.com/papi, which gives fans the opportunity to enter a drawing to attend his jersey retirement ceremony by donating. Proceeds go to the David Ortiz Children’s Fund and the Red Sox Foundation. 

The David Ortiz Children Fund aims to help children in New England and the Dominican Republic who are born with congenital heart failure. 
 

Drellich: When will Red Sox players hold themselves accountable?

Drellich: When will Red Sox players hold themselves accountable?

BOSTON -- Whether John Farrell is managing the Red Sox next week or next month, keep an eye on player accountability.

Five years ago, Bobby Valentine was supposed to be the disciplinarian that stopped babying the clubhouse. Disaster followed, largely because Valentine was a terrible fit for this group, his approach extreme and dated.

But this year’s team makes you wonder whether a distilled sense of Red Sox entitlement lingers.

At Fenway Park, is the message from the veteran voices one that includes a sense of public accountability for not just the manager, but the players as well?

In FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal’s piece on Farrell, Rosenthal noted “some players, but not all, believe that [Farrell] does not stand up for them strongly enough to the media.”

Those unnamed players Rosenthal cites need a mirror, badly. Or at least a glance around the room.

Where’s the guy in the clubhouse standing up to the media with any consistency? There’s no voice that regularly shields the younger, less experienced guys from tough but expected questions after losses.

Dustin Pedroia gets dressed and leaves the clubhouse faster than Chris Sale will get the ball back and throw it Wednesday. 

Pedroia mentioned something about whale poop in Oakland over the weekend. He can be very funny, but he’s not exactly keen to deliver calming, state-of-the-union addresses — not with frequency, anyway.

Farrell, of course, has been criticized for doing the opposite of what the FOX Sports story noted. The manager was mobbed on social media last year for saying David Price had good stuff on a day Price himself said the opposite.

The premise here is amusing, if you think about it.

Follow: Players are upset that the manager does not do a better job lying about their performance. And this, in turn, affects how players play?

Get a grip.

The public isn’t dumb. If you’re bad, you’re bad, and you’re going to hear about it in Boston. No manager changes that.

Whichever Sox player seeks more protection from Farrell really needs a reminder from a teammate to play better.

Too often, some of the most famous, prominent athletes can be sensitive, and over-sensitive. Look at how LeBron James handled a question about what led to his poor performance in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.

It is true that some players question Farrell’s leadership, as Rosenthal reported. But it can also be difficult to separate questions of leadership from whining and grumbling that a manager isn’t providing said player more chances, more opportunities, even if undeserved.

How can Drew Pomeranz's unfounded dugout complaints be Farrell's fault?

The situation and player that make Farrell look the worst this year is Hanley Ramirez. The idea of him playing first base is gone, his shoulders apparently too screwed up to make that viable. 

Somehow, Ramirez made 133 starts at first base last year. One has to wonder how all of a sudden Ramirez can barely play a single game. 

If he’s hurt, he’s hurt. But the Sox didn’t come out of the gate in spring training and say, first base is out of the picture because of his health. They kept saying there was hope he'd be able to play in the field.

If Ramirez is being obstinate, he’s in turn making Farrell look weak. And, more importantly, hurting his team.

What would Ramirez be doing if David Ortiz hadn't retired? Spending the year on the disabled list?

Farrell can pack up his bags today, tomorrow or after the next full moon. The players would still need to take it upon themselves to do what’s best for their team: to focus on what matters.

If they’ve forgotten, that’s about performing up to their abilities and being accountable for themselves -- publicly and privately -- when they don’t.

A manager’s quote in the media doesn’t change whether you’re playing bad baseball.