Los Angeles Dodgers starter Rich Hill has yet to pitch during the 2019 regular season due to an MCL strain in his left knee, although that is about to change.
After making a rehab start and then pitching in a game at extended Spring Training, Hill was deemed healthy and built up enough to return from the 10-day injured list to make his season debut on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In Hill’s final outing in Arizona, he tossed six shutout innings and allowed just one hit while striking out 16 of the 19 batters faced. While those numbers are obviously outstanding, how he felt coming out of it was what was really important to the organization.
Hill said he feels healthy and is no longer bothered by the knee brace, paving the way for him to make his season debut, via Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:
“The knee is great. It feels great,” Hill said. “I’ll wear the brace just because I don’t want to make it slip and then kick yourself for not wearing it. It’s very light. … It’s almost like it’s not there sometimes, especially when it’s put on correctly.”
The knee brace is something that Hill had previously been uncomfortable with, so to see that he has worked through that and found a solution is definitely a positive sign moving forward.
With Hill expected to return over the weekend, Ross Stripling will join Julio Urias in making the move from the starting rotation to the bullpen. Urias did so this past week when Hyun-Jin Ryu returned from the 10-day IL.
Hill looked as good as he ever had during Spring Training before getting injured, so if that is the pitcher they are getting back then that could be a big addition to the Dodgers’ starting rotation.