Having already overcome an MCL strain in his left knee, Rich Hill fell victim to a second injury this season as he was removed after just one inning on June 19 because of forearm discomfort.
An MRI the following the day revealed Hill suffered a flexor strain. Although that can be a precursor to Tommy John surgery, the veteran left-hander said testing showed a UCL that was in good shape.
Nonetheless, Hill acknowledged he faced a lengthy recovery. Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts followed that up by forecasting Hill was not expected to return before Sept. 1.
The 39-year-old is set to begin the rehab process later this week by playing catch for the first time since suffering the injury, according to David Vassegh of AM 570 L.A. Sports:
Rich Hill will begin throwing the baseball on Thursday in Philadelphia. 60 feet toss. Plan is to do that for 2 weeks and progress. September is the target for Hill to return. #Dodgers
— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) July 14, 2019
Thursday will mark one month from the date Hill underwent the MRI. He said at the time it would be at least three or four weeks before being cleared to pick up a baseball. Hill was administered a PRP injection in effort to stimulate the healing process.
“I think that’s something definitely doesn’t hurt. Doesn’t do anything but help,” he said.
Hill receiving approval to begin throwing comes just over one week after an ultrasound on his elbow showed steady progress in the recovery. Assuming he doesn’t suffer any setbacks, the left-hander will advance to throwing off a mound, then facing batters and eventually a simulated game.
In essence, the long layoff will require Hill to replicate a progression seen in Spring Training. “I’m disappointed, obviously. Not only for myself but to help this team out,” Hill previously said of the injury.
“I want to get back as soon as physically able but not push it where it’s going to be non-productive. Certainly don’t want to do that, put the team or myself in any position to have that happen.”
Although the Dodgers have called on Ross Stripling to fill the void in the rotation, the Dodgers reportedly are among the teams with interest in Detroit Tigers starter Matthew Boyd. A trade would mean adding another southpaw to the staff, but Boyd could also serve as insurance beyond this season.
Hill is in the final year of a three-year, $48 million contract signed in December 2016.