After getting through most of Spring Training with Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler to worry about, the Los Angeles Dodgers learned they would begin the season without Rich Hill. With Kershaw and Hill beginning the year on the 10-day injured list, it created two voids in the rotation.
Those went to Ross Stripling and Julio Urias, with the Dodgers forced to do some shuffling after initially planning for the young lefty to fill a role as a long reliever. While Kershaw not being included on the Opening Day roster long appeared likely, news of Hill’s injury was more of a surprise and led to Hyun-Jin Ryu being tabbed for a start in the season opener.
He felt discomfort near the end of his final Cactus League start on March 17. Hill then was unable to get through a bullpen session without pain, which prompted an MRI that revealed a Grade 1 strain of the MCL in his left knee.
Hill was projected to miss two weeks while recovering, and he’s pleased with how the process has gone thus far, per SportsNet LA:
“Every day it’s been progressing in the right direction. I’m really encouraged by the direction everything has taken. The good thing is, the training staff is doing a great job for me and I’ve been able to keep everything on track to hopefully be back soon.”
For now the 39-year-old has been limited to playing catch on flat ground. Assuming Hill continues to show steady improvement, he will soon advance to throwing off a mound.
Although the injury is preventing Hill from being included on the Opening Day roster, he found a silver lining in addressing the matter now so as to avoid a potential surgery down the line.