Peter Schmuck on what might or might not be, a debilitating shoulder injury:
- Of course you're skeptical about Rich Hill's sore shoulder. Who wouldn't be, after he admits to being sore right at the moment when it looks like he's going to be waived and possibly outrighted to the minor leagues?
Now, to be fair, maybe he has been pitching hurt the past few outings, but his track record indicates that his control problems are as much mental as physical. He's a decent fellow and I hope the Orioles find a way to straighten him out, but it's hard to project him ever being a truly dependable starting pitcher.
Hill's spot in the rotation became untenable during or immediately after his last start, in which he walked three Royals -- yes, you read that right: three Royals -- in just a few innings. After that glorious outing, Hill's ERA stood at a lovely 7.80, which wasn't acceptable even before the Steroid Era.
I don't know how bad Hill's shoulder is hurting, but either way he probably needs some time off. Totaling Hill's time in Triple-A and the majors over these last two seasons, he has pitched 117 innings and walked 96 men. Many of them big, strong men, yes. But mere men, nevertheless. It's pretty obvious that Hill just isn't right, and throwing him out there against major league hitters, or even Royals, isn't going to make him right.
Which might all seem rather inconsequential, except for some reason I've always sort of pulled for the guy, and it's not inconsequential to him and everybody who loves him. I hope he pitches again, but I hope he doesn't pitch again until he's ready to throw quality strikes.