Rich Hill came back strong from last year’s Tommy John elbow surgery, reclaiming a spot in the Red Sox’s bullpen and throwing 14 innings with a 2.63 ERA, but now the left-hander will miss at least a month with a strained flexor muscle in that same elbow.
Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston says that actually qualifies as positive news, because the Red Sox sent Hill to be examined by Dr. James Andrews and feared he might have another torn ligament that would require surgery.
To replace Hill on the roster the Red Sox recalled Mark Melancon from Triple-A, where he recovered from an absolutely brutal first two weeks in Boston to get back on track as a potential late-inning reliever.
Melancon earned his trip down to Pawtucket by going 0-2 with a 49.50 ERA in four appearances to begin the season, allowing 11 runs in two innings. And then he dominated at Triple-A, throwing 22 innings with a 0.82 ERA and 27/3 K/BB ratio to look like the shutdown reliever the Red Sox traded Jed Lowrie to the Astros to get this offseason.
Cubs starter Yu Darvish suffered a setback during Sunday’s rehab start with Low-A South Bend, The Athletic’s Jon Greenberg reports. Darvish threw just 19 pitches in the first inning and felt fine. However, when he took the mound to warm up ahead of the second inning, Darvish “felt something” in his injured right elbow. He exited the game to undergo an MRI.
Darvish’s condition isn’t yet known, but it’s obviously bad news. Darvish signed a six-year, $126 million contract in February and has made just eight starts this season. He owns a 4.95 ERA with 49 strikeouts and 21 walks in 40 innings and hasn’t pitched since May 20.
Darvish said he hopes to return before the end of the regular season to help the team. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein is realistic about the situation. He said, “It’s a process. We’ll see how he feels. It’s been a long road back, so there’s no point in rushing it now. We probably have one chance given where we are on the calendar to get this right, so that’s the priority.”
Mike Montgomery has pitched out of the rotation in Darvish’s place but he is also currently on the disabled list. Tyler Chatwood, with a 5.22 ERA and 93 walks in 101 2/3 innings, was booted from the rotation at the end of July after the Cubs acquired Cole Hamels. The Cubs, entering Sunday 20 games over .500 and fewer than five games ahead of the Cardinals and Brewers in the NL Central, need some reliability at the back of the rotation.