The Red Sox have placed left-hander Rich Hill on the 15-day injured list due to a left knee sprain, the club announced prior to taking on the Cubs on Saturday. In a corresponding move, right-handed reliever Phillips Valdez has been recalled from Triple-A Worcester.
Hill made his 15th start of the season for the Sox at Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon. The veteran southpaw was cruising through four scoreless innings before things took a turn for the worst in the bottom half of the fifth. After allowing two runs and two of the first four batters he faced in the frame to reach base, Hill issued a four-pitch walk to Cubs catcher Wilson Contreras.
On the very first pitch he threw to Contreras, Hill said he felt his left knee pop. He remained in the game, but quickly exited after filling the bases on that walk of Contreras, a single, and a hit batsman. The 42-year-old was later diagnosed with a left knee sprain that will now keep him sidelined for the next 15 days at the very least.
In his 15 starts for Boston this year, Hill has posted a 4.20 ERA with 58 strikeouts to 23 walks over 70 2/3 innings of work. The Milton, Mass. native becomes the latest Red Sox starter to hit the injured list, joining the likes of Garrett Whitlock (who will likely return as a reliever) and Nathan Eovaldi.
It remains to be seen who will take Hill’s spot in the Sox’ starting rotation while the lefty is out of action. When speaking with reporters (including WEEI’s Rob Bradford) on Saturday, manager Alex Cora indicated that a top prospect such as Brayan Bello — who started for Triple-A Worcester on Friday — could be in play.
“There’s a lot of guys in the mix for a lot of stuff here, now,” Cora said. “All of a sudden, there’s a lot of stuff health-wise that is going on. We’ve been talking about those guys the whole season. Let’s see what happens in the upcoming days.”
Valdez, meanwhile, joins the Red Sox for the fourth time this season and will provide the club with a fresh bullpen arm for Saturday’s bout with the Cubs. With Connor Seabold slated to start Sunday’s series finale, the Sox will have to make another move in order to add the rookie hurler to the active roster.
(Picture of Rich Hill: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)