Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe this evening that “it’s conceivable” Rich Hill could be activated from the disabled list this weekend while the club is in Chicago. See, who needs Carl Crawford?
Hill reinvented himself as a sidearmer last year and posted a 12/3 K/BB ratio over eight scoreless innings with the Red Sox before undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery in June. The 32-year-old left-hander has been very solid during his minor league rehab assignment, posting a 2.00 ERA and an 18/2 K/BB ratio over nine innings between Class A Greenville, High-A Salem and Triple-A Pawtucket. The Red Sox have seen him top out at 93 mph with his fastball.
More help for Boston’s beleaguered bullpen could soon follow, as Mark Melancon has struck out six over 3 1/3 scoreless innings since his demotion last week. The Red Sox have also converted prospect right-hander Alex Wilson from a starter to a reliever this week to prepare him for the major leagues.
The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.
A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.
Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.
The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.
Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.