The Red Sox have placed Rich Hill on the 15-day injured list, as the left-hander is battling a left knee sprain. Right-hander Phillips Valdez was called up from Triple-A to take Hill’s spot on the active roster.
Hill suffered the injury in the fifth inning of yesterday’s start against the Cubs, as he tried to tough it out through two more batters but eventually left the game. Hill told reporters (including WEEI’s Rob Bradford) that he was waiting for the results of an MRI, but he compared the injury to the MCL problem that sidelined him for a month during the 2019 season.
The 42-year-old Hill has continued to post solid results in his 18th Major League season, with a 4.20 ERA/4.35 SIERA over 70 2/3 innings. While his Statcast numbers and advanced metrics (including a 19.5% strikeout rate) aren’t anything to write home about, Hill has still been a reliable presence within a Boston rotation that has been lacking in stability.
At the moment, that rotation is down to just three pitchers, as the Sox have been hit by injuries. Hill joins Nathan Eovaldi, Chris Sale (who has yet to pitch in 2022) and Garrett Whitlock on the IL, leaving Michael Wacha, Nick Pivetta, and Josh Winckowski as the only pitchers remaining in the starting five. Connor Seabold is at Triple-A and figures to be recalled to make at least one spot start.
Among the injured names, Eovaldi threw a 35-pitch bullpen session today, though it isn’t yet known if the righty may need a rehab start. Eovaldi has been on the IL since June 9 due to lower back inflammation. Sale has another rehab outing slated for Wednesday, and Red Sox manager Alex Cora told MLB.com’s Ian Browne that Sale could potentially in line to make his 2022 season debut on July 11 when the Sox play the Rays.
As for Whitlock, he has been out since June 10 due to hip inflammation. The righty has a bullpen session today and will have to make a rehab outing, but when he does return, Cora told Bradford and company that Whitlock will “pretty much likely” return to his old bullpen role, rather than as a starting pitcher. Whitlock had a 4.15 ERA over 39 innings and nine starts this season, but with a theoretical surplus of starters when everyone is healthy, the Red Sox figure Whitlock can best help the team as a multi-inning reliever — Whitlock dominated batters in such a role in 2021.
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