With Hyun-Jin Ryu coming off the 10-day injured list Saturday, the Los Angeles Dodgers moved closer to having their expected Opening Day starting rotation for the first time this season. Now the club awaits the return of Rich Hill, who has been sidelined by a sprained MCL.
Hill suffered the injury near the end of what wound up being his final start of Spring Training. He experienced discomfort in a bullpen session two days later, which prompted an MRI that revealed he sprained left knee.
That forced Hill, like Clayton Kershaw, to begin the 2019 season on the IL. He continued throwing on flat ground to keep his arm in shape and built up to a rehab start with High-A Rancho Cucamonga early this week.
Although Hill declared himself prepared to join the Dodgers rotation, manager Dave Roberts said the veteran left-hander would make another rehab start Monday. Which affiliate it would come with — Triple-A Oklahoma City or Double-A Tulsa — hinged on the weather forecast.
However, inclement weather may force Hill to pitch in extended Spring Training at Camelback Ranch rather than a Minor League game, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
Rich Hill’s rehab start might not happen because of weather. He might pitch at Camelback Ranch Glendale instead.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) April 20, 2019
Regardless of where Hill ultimately pitches, the plan is to stretch out to five innings or 75 pitches. That would leave him firmly in position to possibly give the Dodgers six innings or 100 pitches in his 2019 debut.
Hill threw 51 pitches and had eight strikeouts over four scoreless innings in his start for the Quakes. Assuming Hill does pitch Monday — an off day for the Dodgers — he would be in line to come off the injured list Saturday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.