Los Angeles Dodgers starter Rich Hill was in the midst of perhaps the best spring of his career when he went down with a strained MCL in his left knee that forced him to begin the season on the 10-day injured list.
While the injury was obviously a disappointing one for the 39-year-old, it was only believed to keep him out for the first few weeks of the season.
That time has since passed, and Hill is on the verge of being ready to return to the Dodgers rotation. He made his first rehab start with High-A Rancho Cucamonga on Wednesday night, tossing four shutout innings while allowing just two hits and striking out eight.
After the start, Hill proclaimed that he is ready to be activated and was hopeful that his next outing would be in a Major League game.
It appears the Dodgers organization is being cautious with the left-hander, as manager Dave Roberts explained Hill will make one more rehab start before being activated from the injured list, via SportsNet LA:
“So, Richie really pitched well [Wednesday]. He’s in town and I think as much as we like him to join us on his regular turn, which would be Monday (Dodgers’ off day), so to have him back Tuesday, the plan is to get him out one more time on a rehab assignment; I don’t know where.”
Hill is expected to pitch five innings or 75 pitches in his next rehab start, which Roberts added was a factor in the club’s decision. The Dodgers bullpen has just gotten their legs back under them, and ensuring Hill is fully stretched out will further aid them.
The Dodgers’ starting rotation has been plagued by injuries to start the season with Hill, Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu all already spending time on the injured list.
Kershaw returned this past week, and Ryu is scheduled to be activated and pitch on Saturday against the Milwaukee Brewers. So with Hill not far behind them, the Dodgers should soon have their projected Opening Day rotation healthy for the first time in 2019.