Rich Hill admitted Wednesday that he’s been pitching with a tear in the labrum of his pitching shoulder for the entire season, and in fact his entire Baltimore tenure. Hill said that the tear was originally found in an arthrogram administered by his former team, the Cubs.
Hill, who missed time in Spring Training due to tendinitis in his left elbow, is unsure how to proceed with his injury. The southpaw said he will undergo another arthrogram before deciding to go on a strengthening program or to surgically repair his damaged shoulder.
The Orioles acquired Hill during the offseason for a nominal cash transaction, and now they’ll allow him to plot his own medical course of action. The southpaw got an extended audition in Baltimore’s rotation, and now he’ll have to figure out how to best return to the Majors.
The Orioles are apparently set to promote top pitching prospect Chris Tillman to make his Major League debut on Wednesday, a move that allows Baltimore to give its other starters an extra day between rotation turns. Manager Dave Trembley said Saturday that Rich Hill will start Monday and Jason Berken on Tuesday before a mystery pitcher throws on Wednesday.
Trembley, who had said earlier in the week that Tillman’s promotion was imminent but with a uncertainty as to which specific day, said Saturday that Wednesday’s pitcher shouldn’t be a surprise. A roster move will be required, he said, and wouldn’t divulge much more info.
Trembley said he has no plans to go with a six-man rotation and that Wednesday’s start wouldn’t be a one-time audition, which likely means that Tillman’s presence will force someone else out of the rotation. In this case, it likely means Berken or Hill.
The Orioles endorsed Jason Berken to make Monday’s start against the Royals but cryptically stopped short of naming Rich Hill to start on Tuesday. Baltimore is considering the promotion of pitching prospect Chris Tillman, which would change the existing pitching equation. Still, at this point, they’re not prepared to say when he’ll join the team.
“You know, Tillman is going to get here,” said manager Dave Trembley. “It’s just a matter of when. I can’t tell you right know the exact date when he’s going to be here.”
Andy MacPhail, Baltimore’s president of baseball operations, was just as cagey regarding Tillman’s potential promotion. MacPhail refused to lean either way, and when asked if a recent adverse start by Tillman would affect the timetable, he shook his head.
“I don’t think [it’s fair] a kid that has pitched well virtually for the entire time that we got him to penalize him for a bad outing,” said MacPhail. “To put that much emphasis on one outing, I don’t think would be fair to anybody.”
The Orioles are set to promote Jason Berken from Triple-A Norfolk to take Tuesday’s starting assignment, a move that will give them three rookies in their starting rotation. Berken will replace Adam Eaton, who was recently released, for an undetermined period of time.
Berken, a former sixth-round draftee, was 2-0 with a 1.05 ERA in his first five starts for Norfolk. The Orioles may also have to replace rookie Koji Uehara, who is suffering from a sore left hamstring, at some point. Baltimore’s two most experienced starters — Jeremy Guthrie and Rich Hill — have combined for a little more than five years of big-league service time.
The Orioles are still holding their plans close to the vest regarding Rich Hill, and manager Dave Trembley chose not to divulge the southpaw’s next move on Wednesday. Hill can either make another rehab appearance in his path back from a strained left elbow, or the Orioles can call him back to the parent club and activate him from the disabled list.
“We’re still considering what’s going to occur,” Trembley said. “We haven’t come to a conclusion on that, so we’ll see where that takes us. Obviously, I can understand the interest that everybody has and fans have. When we’re ready to say something, we’ll say it.”
If and when Hill returns, the Orioles are likely to move Mark Hendrickson back to the bullpen. Hendrickson threw two innings on Tuesday night and is scheduled to pitch on Sunday.
Baltimore manager Dave Trembley didn’t mince any words Sunday when asked about possibly bringing back Rich Hill from his stint on the disabled list. Hill, who’s set to pitch for Triple-A Norfolk Sunday, could well slot into the rotation at the end of next week.
The southpaw has been slowed by a strained left elbow, but the Orioles will gauge his recovery stands on Sunday. When Hill returns, Mark Hendrickson will likely be slotted into the bullpen, giving the Orioles their choice of three left-handed relievers.
First, though, Trembley said the Orioles have to see to Hill’s recovery.
“It’s an interesting day for him and for us. We’ll be watching how he does closely,” he said. “I’m sure with tomorrow being an off-day there will be a lot of discussion about his status and whether to continue his rehab or see if he’s ready to come up here. I think we need to get through today first and see whether he’s fine and still able to throw in between starts.”
Rich Hill is one step closer to returning
from the elbow ailment that caused him to start the season on
the disabled list. Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said
Tuesday that Hill has completed the extended Spring Training
portion of his rehab and will go out on a Minor League stint
at the end of the week. From that point, the Orioles would
have a month for him to work into shape, and barring a
further injury, would have to make a roster decision by late