When Rich Hill suffered a strained MCL in his left knee late in Spring Training, he was forced to begin the season on the 10-day injured list. Hill did not join the Los Angeles Dodgers starting rotation until the end of April, but is poised to avoid a long layoff this time around.
His return from a strained flexor tendon last week came to an abrupt end because of knee trouble. Hill was diagnosed with a second MCL strain in the same knee and was scheduled to undergo an MRI.
He nonetheless resumed throwing on flat ground before the exam, which ultimately did not reveal any structural damage. Hill continued to work on adjusting his delivery with assistance from a knee brace that mitigated discomfort.
After getting through a bullpen session earlier this week, Hill was scheduled to pitch in a simulated game Friday. The veteran left-hander checked off that box without any pain in his knee and remains on track to start Tuesday against the San Diego Padres, per Alanna Rizzo of SportsNet LA:
— Alanna Rizzo (@alannarizzo) September 20, 2019
Considering Hill has not yet begun any sort of process to build back up, he’s only expected to complete two innings at Petco Park. Should all go well, he would next start against the San Francisco Giants in the regular season finale.
Hill’s progress could have an impact on the Dodgers’ plans with respect to a Game 4 starter in the postseason. Manager Dave Roberts previously said the club was prepared to take an ‘unconventional’ approach.
Justin Turner set to return from sprained left ankle
Friday represented a 10th consecutive game in 13 days that Justin Turner was not in the lineup because of a sprained left ankle. Though, Turner pinch-hit in the series opener against the Colorado Rockies and will start Saturday, according to Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
#Dodgers Dave Roberts said Justin Turner will start tomorrow in spring training mode —. 3 ABs and out
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) September 20, 2019
“We’ve taken this much time, so when he does come back I just really want to be confident he can sustain it,” Roberts said this week.
Turner tested his ankle with various drills on Wednesday and told DodgerBlue.com it was improving. He planned to do more running Thursday.
Turner is batting .302/.365/.621 with four doubles, 11 home runs and 21 RBI in 32 games (30 starts) since Aug 1. His 10 home runs during August were a career high for any calendar month.