Excluding aces who were only available at an exorbitant cost, the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired arguably the best starting pitcher on the market in Rich Hill prior to the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline.
However, Hill has yet to debut with the Dodgers. He was on the 15-day disabled list at the time of being traded, and hasn’t been able to shake free of lingering blister issues.
The southpaw threw a bullpen session at Coors Field and was thought to be nearing a return. After throwing at Dodger Stadium, a new blister began to form which delayed his return.
Hill has since had two more scheduled starts pushed back. The most recent removed him from consideration to take the mound in the series finale against the Philadelphia Phillies in favor of facing batters in Arizona.
According to Andy McCullough of the LA Times, Hill’s simulated game is taking place Thursday, and the southpaw is a candidate to face the San Francisco Giants next week:
Rich Hill could make his Dodgers debut against San Francisco next week, Dave Roberts said. He'll throw a sim game in Arizona tomorrow.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) August 17, 2016
Hill last appeared in a game on July 17, though it only lasted five pitches because of the blister on his middle finger ripping open. Excluding that outing, his last true start was July 7.
Hill also missed all of June due to a groin issue. He’s 9-3 with a 2.25 ERA, 2.53 FIP and 1.09 WHIP. The Dodgers conclude a seven-game road trip on Monday, then begin a three-game set against their longtime rival at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday.
Considering the Dodgers and Giants are neck-and-neck for first place in the National League West, the series could serve as a launching point for some breathing room in the standings.