Rich Hill will be 'out a while' with flexor tendon strain in left arm

Ben WeinribYahoo Sports Contributor
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/teams/la-dodgers/" data-ylk="slk:Dodgers">Dodgers</a> starter <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/7578/" data-ylk="slk:Rich Hill">Rich Hill</a> left Wednesday's game with an injury. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Dodgers starter Rich Hill left Wednesday's game with an injury. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Injury has struck Los Angeles Dodgers starter Rich Hill once again. The veteran left-hander was placed on the injured list Thursday and will be “out a while” after being diagnosed with a flexor tendon strain in his left arm.

Hill left Wednesday’s game against the San Francisco Giants after just one inning after experiencing discomfort in his left forearm. An MRI on Thursday confirmed the diagnosis.

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An official timeline for Hill’s return has not been established. The best-case scenario would seemingly put him on track for a late July return.

With a 10-game lead in the National League West, the Dodgers can afford to be cautious. They almost certainly be given Hill’s injury history.

More health problems for Hill

Hill has never been the paragon of health, and this season is no exception. He began the season on the 10-day injured list with a strained knee but returned after three weeks on fire with a 2.60 ERA over 52 innings with 59 strikeouts and just 12 walks entering the game.

Since re-emerging as a quality starter in 2016, Hill has never thrown a ton of innings. His highest inning total was 135 2/3 in 2017, and he averages just 5.5 innings per start.

Hill has been a frequent tenant of the injured list, mainly because of a troublesome blister problem that has been the cause of five separate visits since late 2016. He previously faced left forearm soreness in June 2012, when he was a reliever for the Boston Red Sox, which kept him out nearly three months. He also underwent Tommy John surgery in 2011.

What are the Dodgers’ options without Hill?

It’s never a good time to lose a starting pitcher, but the Dodgers are in a solid position with their southpaw expected to miss several turns in the rotation.

For one thing, the rest of LA’s staff is healthy. Clayton Kershaw is back after missing the first few turns of the rotation, Hyun-Jin Ryu has the lowest ERA in the league by nearly a run and Walker Buehler looks like the team’s next ace. Then there’s no sleeping on the consistent Kenta Maeda.

The Dodgers’ rotation is so deep that they had to bump Ross Stripling (2.65 ERA as a starter) and Julio Urias (3.66) to the pen. Either would be a fine candidate to take a few turns in the rotation, and in a pinch, they also have Brock Stewart and intriguing prospect Tony Gonsolin in Triple-A.

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