Rich Hill returns to the mound for the first time since tossing seven perfect innings against the Marlins and being controversially removed by manager Dave Roberts. Roberts was right to do so, by the way. Hill takes on the Diamondbacks’ Archie Bradley in a 9:40 PM EDT start at Chase Field on Thursday night.
Roberts was so careful with Hill because he knows how valuable the lefty is to the club’s chances of maintaining its lead in the NL West and succeeding in the postseason. The Dodgers enter Thursday’s action with a five-game lead over the second-place Giants. Meanwhile, Hill brings with him a 1.80 ERA and a 110/30 K/BB ratio in 95 innings. He hasn’t allowed a run since the second inning of his July 7 start against the Athletics, a span of 24 innings. When he has been healthy, Hill has arguably been the best pitcher in baseball this season. But while many starters are at 29 and 30 starts at this point, tonight will be Hill’s 18th.
Hill missed over a month between July 17 and August 23 dealing with a blister issue. He debuted for the Dodgers, who acquired him on August 1, on the 24th of the month. He pitched six shutout innings against the Giants, but then would be sidelined again with more blister issues. Hill wouldn’t pitch again until September 3.
While Roberts is hoping Hill dominates the Diamondbacks on Thursday night, he’s also hoping Hill doesn’t dominate too much and force him into another can’t-win decision.
The rest of Thursday’s action…
Pittsburgh Pirates (Chad Kuhl) @ Philadelphia Phillies (Jerad Eickhoff), 7:05 PM EDT
Tampa Bay Rays (Blake Snell) @ Baltimore Orioles (Yovani Gallardo), 7:05 PM EDT
New York Yankees (Masahiro Tanaka) @ Boston Red Sox (Eduardo Rodriguez), 7:10 PM EDT
Oakland Athletics (Daniel Mengden) @ Kansas City Royals (Edinson Volquez), 7:15 PM EDT
Milwaukee Brewers (Jimmy Nelson) @ Chicago Cubs (Mike Montgomery), 8:05 PM EDT
Toronto Blue Jays (J.A. Happ) @ Los Angeles Angels (Daniel Wright), 10:05 PM EDT
St. Louis Cardinals (Adam Wainwright) @ San Francisco Giants (Johnny Cueto), 10:15 PM EDT
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the Padres are being investigated by Major League Baseball for the way it handled players’ medical records. According to Olney, Padres officials instructed athletic trainers to have to separate medical files on their players: one for “industry consumption” and one for the team’s internal use. One can make an assumption about which files would be more accurate. The trainers were told this methodology was being enforced in give the team a better position in trade negotiations.
All 30 major league teams put their players’ medical information into a central database called Sutton Medical System. It allows other teams to access the information to be aware of any red flags before signing off on a trade, for example. According to Olney, anytime a player goes into the training room and receives treatment, the details of that visit are supposed to be entered into the database. That includes using a hot tub, and requesting aspirin and anti-inflammatories.
The Padres organization as well as individuals within the organization could face discipline as the investigation is nearly complete.
The Padres director of communications Shane Wilson said, “At this point, it is an ongoing review, and we will refrain from comment until the process has concluded and we receive formal notification of the outcome from MLB. That said, there was no direction or intent on our part to mislead other clubs with respect to a player’s medical information.”
Olney adds that officials from three teams with which the Padres did business — the Red Sox, Marlins, and White Sox — were enraged by the Padres’ “strategic deception.” For example, after acquiring Drew Pomeranz, the Red Sox only then became aware of some of the preventative measures provided for Pomeranz. The lefty underwent shoulder surgery after last season.
The Padres also traded pitcher Colin Rea to the Marlins along with Andrew Cashner and Rea ended up suffering an elbow injury in his first appearance with his new team. The Marlins sent Rea back to the Padres and got pitching prospect Luis Castillo back, undoing part of the trade. Cashner remained in Miami.
This isn’t the first time general manager A.J. Preller has subverted the system. Per Olney, when Preller worked for the Rangers, he was suspended for violating baseball’s rules regarding international signings. The Padres were also reprimanded by Major League Baseball shortly after Preller’s hiring because he conducted a workout that went against industry regulations.
Braves starter Julio Teheran thought he had himself a leadoff single in the fifth inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Marlins, but he was mistaken. Teheran laced a 1-2 Jose Fernandez fastball to right field, but Ozuna — already playing shallow — pounced on it and made a one-hop throw to first baseman Justin Bour to get Teheran out.
Teheran didn’t appear to be running that hard, but I’m not sure it would have mattered all that much. But expect an indignant column or two about Teheran’s lack of hustle anyway.