Fresh off a stint on the 10-day disabled list due to a blister on his left middle finger, Rich Hill’s outing Sunday afternoon was cut short because of the chronic issue. Hill completed three innings of work and was removed while warming up to pitch the fourth.
He’d spent the bottom of the third conversing with a trainer in the dugout and walking in and out of the clubhouse. Hill later said he noticed trouble with the blister during his at-bat in the second inning.
The Dodgers are expected to decide Monday whether or not to put Hill back on the DL. Although the veteran left-hander was re-signed to help Clayton Kershaw in leading the rotation, the Dodgers do have depth to offset another temporary loss, even if it’s longer than a 10-day span.
Alex Wood assumed Hill’s missed start last week, and is the likely candidate to slot back into the rotation. “Ross has got a nice niche right now, he’s got a great rhythm,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said following Sunday’s loss.
“He’s pitching some valuable innings, as is Woody. But if you look at being built up and ability to go deeper as far as pitch count, Woody makes sense.”
There have been indications Julio Urias’ arrival is forthcoming, potentially as early as the end of April, but that remains on hold — for now. “We do know Julio won’t be an option,” Roberts said.
Wood last pitched on Saturday, turning in three hitless innings. He’s impressed thus far in three games (two starts), allowing a combined two runs (one earned) over nine innings. Wood is 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and has eight strikeouts. If there’s a bit of a blemish, it’s Wood six walks.
Beyond statistics, Wood’s velocity has been up a tick from previous seasons. It initially was attributed to being a luxury of pitching out of the bullpen, but the 26-year-old sat in the mid-90s for much of his start against the Chicago Cubs, though Wood only went 3.2 innings.
While the Dodgers were sorting through their options to name two final starters, Wood said he was of the belief that he belonged in the rotation but would accept whatever role was asked of him.
Last season the Dodgers tied a franchise record by using 31 different pitchers. Thus far in 2017, the club has called on 14 pitchers.