Major League Baseball announced Los Angeles Dodgers free agent Rich Hill as the winner of the 2019 Tony Conigliaro Award. It is presented each year to a “Major Leaguer who has overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination, and courage that were trademarks of Tony C.”
Voting was conducted by an 18-person committee headed by Boston Red Sox team historian Gordon Edes and comprised of team officials, media members, MLB executives, fan representatives, and Conigliaro’s brothers, Richie and Billy.
The Tony Conigliaro Award has been given every year since 1990 in memory of the former Red Sox outfielder, whose career was tragically shortened when he was hit by a pitch in 1967. Conigliaro passed away in 1990 at the age of 45.
“I’m really humbled and honored by this award and honestly a little thrown by it,” Hill said in a statement. “Having grown up here, I am very familiar with Tony C.’s story, so this means a lot to me and my family.”
The award will be presented at the 81st annual Boston Baseball Writers’ dinner co-hosted by the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America and the Sports Museum. The dinner is scheduled to be held Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020.
In the final year of his contract with the Dodgers, Hill began the 2019 season on the 10-day injured list due to an MCL strain in his left knee. He made his season debut April 18 and went 4-1 with a 2.55 ERA in 10 starts before leaving an outing because of a flexor strain in his left forearm.
Although that’s often a precursor to Tommy John surgery, an MRI revealed Hill’s UCL was in good standing. He nonetheless faced a lengthy recovery and didn’t pitch again for the Dodgers until September.
Hill’s return ended prematurely as he dealt with a recurrence of left knee trouble. He continued to push through discomfort — which Hill explained was a result of scar tissue breaking — and made two more starts during the regular season to secure a spot in the postseason rotation.
Hill finished 2019 at 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 13 starts. It was recently revealed that Hill pitched with a portion of his UCL detached. That required a primary repair surgery in October, which is expected to sideline Hill at least until June of the 2020 season.
He has received reported interest in free agency from the Red Sox and Dodgers, among other clubs.
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