As the calendar turns to March, Los Angeles Dodgers players are beginning to ramp up their workouts and game action to ensure they are ready for Opening Day at Dodger Stadium.
Rich Hill made his second start of the spring on Thursday afternoon, continuing to build his pitch count as he threw 2.1 innings, allowing two hits and two runs (both unearned) while striking out two. The Dodgers finished with a 7-7 tie against Colorado Rockies, leaving them at 4-1-1 thus far in Cactus League play.
Hill was pleased with the progress he made from his first start, and moving forward wants to continue to hone in on mixing his fastball and curveball velocities to keep hitters off-balanced, via SportsNet LA:
“It felt great. The ball came out of my hand a lot better today than it did the first outing. Every time I get out there I feel like I’m getting stronger. I know it’s only the second time but that said, the curveball was really good. The fastball, I was able to mix speed with my body and be able to accelerate and decelerate some of the fastballs. Overall, it was a really good day. … It was a little bit longer. Larger sample size and I got to see the way the pitches were coming out of my hand right out of the gate. Fastball was really good, and the curveball was really good. Now just start mixing the shapes of the curveball and changing the angles of the curveball, and continue to mix the velocities with the fastball.”
Hill went on to add that he hopes to build his pitch count up to four or five innings the next time out:
“Four or five innings, I think that would be great. I know in reality it’s probably going to be four, I would hope.”
Hill has dealt with blister issues in past years with the Dodgers, so the fact that he is healthy and feeling optimistic about where he is right now is definitely a positive sign. Hill is his own biggest critic, so if he says that he is in a good place, he certainly means it.
With Clayton Kershaw currently dealing with a shoulder injury, the Dodgers call ill-afford to lose Hill or any of their other starters before Opening Day. So while Hill wants to extend all the way to four or five innings in his next start, the team will likely continue to build him up slowly to ensure that he remains healthy.