HILL JUST GLAD TO BE ON THE HILL

     The Red Sox acquired veteran lefthander Rich Hill back on June 30.  The Milton Mass. resident  had come out of the bullpen for his first 13 appearances for the PawSox.  Things changed when the Red Sox decided to bring starters Michael Bowden, Felix Doubront and Robert Coello out as relievers, with the hopes that the trio could help the beleaguered Boston  bullpen.  If you do the math, you realize that you need to get starters from somewhere.   Enter Rich Hill.  Why not.  70 of his 78 Major League appearances had been as a starter.  Hill once started a playoff game in the Bigs for the Cubs.  He has a pedigree.  His career mark in the Majors is 21-20.  Converting back to a starter was no big stretch for the 30 year old veteran.  “It’s been a pretty smooth transition so far.  The other night went pretty well. (8/ 9 vs. Scranton 5 i.p., 2h, 0r, 1bb, 6k)  It’s been easy trying to get back into it.  When you’re trying to get back into the starting routine, you try to think back to what you did when you were having success.  That’s the big thing when you’re a starter.  Get into a routine, do the same things every five days.  It makes for more consistent starts.”

     Hill says it’s been relatively easy starting again.  He hasn’t been a reliever for all that long.  “The couple of months I spent in the bullpen, I had gotten into a routine out there.  Now switching back over, there are some things I remember and other things I’m relearning what to do between starts.  It hasn’t been years, it’s only been months since I was a starter.  The routine seems like it is falling into place.”

     Hill has been around long enough and has the right attitude and temperment.  He isn’t concerned with teammates like Bowden and Doubront and their switch.  He’s focused on one thing only.  “I think it’s a great opportunity to start.  It’s something I want to do and somewhere I want to be.  I’m not saying I don’t want to be in the bullpen to be in the Big Leagues.  That’s obviously where you want to be.  For me, the ultimate goal is to be a successful starter in the Big Leagues.  It’s not about where I’m going or where I was, but where I am right now, and that’s here.  I want to keep putting up quality starts every time I go out there.” 

     Hill was understandably pleased when he was told he was reverting back to a starter.  “I think it’s a really good opportunity.  When I was in St. Louis, they gave me somewhat of a chance to start (5 starts) With all the problems they’ve had in their rotation, you never know what could have happened.”

     Hill was enthusiastic when he returned to New England about 6 weeks ago and none of that has waned.  He seems happy. “It’s gone well.  I’m enjoying the time here.  I live 45 minutes from the field so when we’re home, I stay at home.  If the chance comes up to play in Boston, it’s only a walk away from our house.  I’ve enjoyed the organization.. Everything they do is very professional.  It’s something I was looking forward to.  My wife was looking forward to it too.  We’re enjoying it.”

     As far as what else Rich Hill might be looking forward to?  “I’m just looking forward to the next start to see what happens.”

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