|09.14.15 at 8:56 pm ET|
The 35-year-old who offered one of the Red Sox‘ season’s best stories — allowing just one hit over seven innings in his first big league start since 2009 — is setting himself up for the kind of Hot Stove season he couldn’t have previously imagined.
Hill continues to draw interest from Japanese teams, but with his recent success as a starting pitching the potential of entering next year with the chance of joining a major league rotation has him thinking.
It’s why Hill is strongly considering pitching in Winter Ball (perhaps Puerto Rico) in order to keep his momentum going.
“It’s a real possibility, but at the same time we’ll have finished the season with about 12 starts, which is a nice base heading into spring training,” said Hill of playing this winter, which he hadn’t done with 2008. “Hopefully I can be on a staff starting the season.
“I really wouldn’t mind going through an entire offseason continuing to throw because you want to keep that feel.”
When not pitching in any organized league this winter, Hill will be working out with trainer Mike Boyle in Woburn, as was the case last offseason.
The idea of Hill linking up with a team heading into next season should be an intriguing one. While his starting success has been a small sample size (with just the Independent League Long Island Ducks, Triple-A Pawtucket, and now the Red Sox), the lack of wear and tear on his arm over the past few years might play to his advantage.
There is also the wisdom he is bringing to the table this time as a starter he might not have possessed when attempting the role six years ago.
“Getting back into it with the knowledge and education from other major league pitchers, I’ve been able to benefit from that now,” he said. “As opposed to when I was younger and trying to develop my own routine. A big thing is taking from things other pitchers do.
“I’m more patient. I’m not in a rush to make results happen because it is a pitch to pitch process. Watching the other starters, and watching the ebb and the flow of the game, there’s no rush to make things happen.
“I learned how guys worked. For me it was about trying to do as much as I can to get ready for my next start, but that’s not smart. I’m not saying I didn’t go about my business the right, I just wasn’t efficient. There was more quantity rather than quality.”
|09.14.15 at 8:15 pm ET|
Buchholz, who is recovering from a right elbow strain and hasn’t pitched in a game since July 10, continued his rehab progression at Camden Yards, throwing out to 120 feet prior to the Red Sox series opener against the Orioles.
The righty has also begun to throw breaking balls on the side, although no timetable has been presented as to when he might return to the mound.
But, as he explained, as long as he keeps going down his current path, the goal of coming out of the Red Sox bullpen for one game this season remains intact.
“We just out want to get out there and see what it’s like to ramp up to 100 percent effort level in a game,” Buchholz explained. “But I don’t have enough time to start.”
New president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski had previously said that he didn’t envision Buchholz pitching again this season. Yet the insinuation by both interim manager Torey Lovullo and Buchholz that his season might not be completely over, the target seemingly remains pitching in that final series in Cleveland.
Buchholz started 18 games, compiling 7-7 record and 3.26 ERA, before succumbing to the strained right flexor in his elbow.
|09.14.15 at 3:40 pm ET|
BALTIMORE — As if hitting his 500th career home run wasn’t enough …
Here is the rest of the release announcing Ortiz’s honor:
Ortiz ranked among league leaders in hitting (2nd, .444), on-base percentage (2nd, .545) and RBIs (2nd, 9), and was tied for second among AL hitters with three home runs. The veteran slugger hit his 499th and 500th career homers in Saturday’s 10-4 victory at Tampa Bay, becoming the 27th player in major league history to reach the 500 home run plateau.
Ortiz joined countryman Albert Pujols (April 22, 2014) as the only players in history to reach the mark with a multi-home run game. He became the fourth player to hit his 500th career blast in a Red Sox uniform, joining Hall of Famers Jimmie Foxx (Sept. 24, 1940) and Ted Williams (June 17, 1960), as well as former teammate Manny Ramirez (May 31, 2008). Ortiz is now one of four players with 500 or more career home runs and three World Series championships under his belt, joining Hall of Famers Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Reggie Jackson. Ortiz also homered in Wednesday’s contest against Toronto at Fenway Park, collecting three RBIs in the 10-4 victory over the division leaders. Ortiz, who now has 34 homers on the season, has reached the 30-homer threshold for the ninth time in his career. With 95 RBIs, he is just five shy of his ninth 100-RBI campaign. This is his sixth career Player of the Week honor and his first since the week of May 30-June 5, 2011.
Other noteworthy performances last week included Ortiz’ Boston teammate Mookie Betts (.429, 6 R, 12 H, 2 HR, 5 RBI, .679 SLG, .467 OBP); Kansas City’s Mike Moustakas (.292, 2 HR, 11 RBI, .542 SLG); Toronto’s Ben Revere (.407, 7 R, 11 H, 4 RBI, 3 SB, .467 OBP); Colby Lewis (1-0, 0.00 ERA, CG, SHO, 4 SO, 9.0 IP) of the Texas Rangers;
and Masahiro Tanaka (1-0, 0.60 ERA, 17 SO, 15.0 IP) of the New York Yankees.
|09.14.15 at 1:39 pm ET|
Following a weekend series victory over the Rays, the surging Red Sox head to Camden Yards to open a three-game series against the Orioles on Monday night, sending former Oriole Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound opposite right-hander Kevin Gausman.
Rodriguez (9-5, 4.05 ERA), is coming off a solid outing last Sunday against the Phillies, going seven innings and allowing just one run on eight hits, with one walk and seven strikeouts, to earn his ninth win.
Rodriguez is 0-1 with a 5.59 ERA in two starts against Baltimore this season. In the first start on June 9 the left-hander pitched very well, going six innings and allowing no runs and just three hits and three walks vs. seven strikeouts. In his second outing against his former team 16 days later he lasted just 3 2/3 innings, allowing six earned runs on seven hits, with no walks and five strikeouts.
“We can go back to May and June, he would have a bump in the road and give up five runs and come out of the game,” interim manager Torey Lovullo said. “That hasn’t happened in a long time. That’s maturity.”
Rodriguez is looking to break a three-game road losing streak, as he’s allowed 17 runs in 13 2/4 innings in his last three starts away from home.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, could close to within five games of .500 for the first time since the All-Star break (when they were 42-47), and they could climb out of the AL East cellar in this series, as they enter Monday’s action one game behind both the Orioles and the Rays (who open a series against the Yankees).
|09.13.15 at 7:21 pm ET|
Castiglione also caught up with Ortiz before Sunday’s game to talk about the designated hitter’s feat. Click here to hear that interview.
|09.13.15 at 5:15 pm ET|
Two days, two pretty significant storylines for the Red Sox.
No, the Red Sox‘ 13-inning, 2-0 win over the Rays on Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field wasn’t going to set the baseball world on fire. And while Rusney Castillo’s two-run single in the 13th (giving him three hits for the day) was notable, it wasn’t what will drive the conversation as the Sox leave Florida.
Less than 24 hours after David Ortiz launched two homers to give him 500 for his career, a far less accomplished player offered his own remarkable moment. For Rich Hill, Sunday afternoon wasn’t any ordinary game.
Making his first major league start since July 27, 2009, Hill dazzled through seven innings. The lefty allowed just one hit without giving up a run, while striking out 10 and walking one in his 109-pitch outing.
“He’s always had a really good breaking ball. That’s known. What he was able to do was make adjustments, get a feel,” said Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo, who said Hill will make at least two more starts. “When you’re throwing him one inning as a reliever, there’s not a lot of time to make those touchy-feely adjustments. What Rich was able to do was make the adjustments and throw some quality breaking balls. The thing that stood out to me was when he had to make some pitches, he did. One batter reached second base. The outing speaks for itself. It was just a great outing.”
The only hit off of the 34-year-old came with one out in the third inning when J.P. Arencibia hit a grounder just to the right of Xander Bogaerts, which the shortstop couldn’t quite reel in.
Considering how long it had been since Hill’s last big league start, the results were somewhat remarkable. According to Elias, it had been the longest in between starts for any major league lefty since Brad Thomas drought that lasted from Aug. 11, 2001, until April 24, 2010.
|09.13.15 at 10:01 am ET|
With his 500th career home run in the books, David Ortiz will get a day off in the Red Sox‘ series finale against the Rays on Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field. Taking his place in the designated hitter spot will be Allen Craig.
Also getting the start will be Deven Marrero, who slots in at third base against Tampa Bay starter Drew Smyly.
Perhaps the most notable piece of the Red Sox‘ plan is Rich Hill taking the hill as a starting pitcher for the first time sine July 27, 2009. According to Elias, the last left-handed pitcher to go at least six years between major league starts was Brad Thomas, who started on Aug. 11, 2001, and then again April 24, 2010.
Hill will attempt to continue the recent run by Red Sox starters, who have posted a 2.65 ERA in the last eight contests.
Here is the Red Sox lineup:
Mookie Betts, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Travis Shaw, 1B
Rusney Castillo, LF
Allen Craig, DH
Deven Marrero, 3B
Sandy Leon, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., RF
|09.13.15 at 9:08 am ET|
The 35-year-old Hill, a native of Milton, was in the Sox organization from 2010 to 2012 and again in 2014 before being traded to the Angels midseason. His last stint in the majors came with the Yankees late last year. He was in the Nationals organization to start this season before being released in June. Rather than look for another deal as a reliever, Hill joined the independent league Long Island Ducks and impressed the Sox enough to earn a look as a starter.
“It is special,” Hill said of his latest opportunity with his hometown team. “It’s special to be home, it really is. Somebody asked me if it was improbable. I may have said yes, but that was really my goal — to get back and to start.”
After being signed to a minor league deal on Aug. 10 by the Sox, Hill went 3-2 with an ERA of 2.78 in five starts with Pawtucket before being called up. The left-hander will look to start his rejuvenated career on a positive note Sunday afternoon as part of Boston’s six-man September rotation.
|09.13.15 at 12:30 am ET|
On deciding to play Saturday: “I thought I was going to play today, but they told me that they don’t want me on the turf for three straight days. I told them I’m going to play last night and if I feel good the next day, I’ll come back and play. I was going to have a day off, that was the plan. But they didn’t know if it was going to be today or tomorrow. [Torey] Lovullo just texted me early, see how I feel, I told him I was going to play and I played.”
On Dustin Pedroia‘s chance to reach 500: “Plenty of time. He’s signed for another 10 years.”
On what the last few weeks were like: “Well, what can I tell you? The past couple of weeks I think there was one day I was trying to hit homers and I think I went 0-for-4 with four punchouts. I was working on just trying to put a good swing on the ball and whatever happens, happens. You guys have seen me lately hitting the ball opposite field. When I’m swinging the bat well, that’s what I do, hit the ball everywhere. I think tonight was one of those nights where if you feel good, swinging the bat good, if you see pitches to hit facing the Devil Rays — I think the Devil Rays have one of the best pitching staffs in the game and they don’t miss much. They have a plan, a game plan against you, and they execute pretty well. I was trying to focus on putting a good swing on the ball.”
|09.12.15 at 11:49 pm ET|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Enjoy the moment.
David Ortiz did.
It was another case of Ortiz being Ortiz.
His second home run of the game, No. 500, came in the fifth.
It was a solo shot. Fitting for this accomplishment. The announced crowd of 20,698 stood as one and cheered Ortiz. His teammates streamed out of the dugout to greet him. This was good.
The 2-2 curveball landed somewhere between the right field wall and Venus.
On Saturday night, he homered in the first. A three-run shot. Then he led off the fifth. Five pitches later, his no-doubter made him the 27th major leaguer to earn MLB’s half-grand prize.
He swung. He watched. He took his sweet damn time rounding the bases.
“I’m glad I did that. I’m glad it’s over,” Ortiz said, according to interim manager Torey Lovullo.
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