Rich Hill (pitcher)
|Boston Red Sox – No. 56|
March 11, 1980 |
|Bats: Left||Throws: Left|
|June 15, 2005 for the Chicago Cubs|
(through 2013 season)
|Earned run average||4.74|
Hill played for Milton High School's Varsity baseball team when he was a freshman. He is one of four to do that in the school's history. He was originally drafted by the Reds in 1999, however he decided to play collegiately for the Michigan Wolverines.
Hill was a fourth round pick out of the University of Michigan in the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft. Hill made his major league debut on June 15, 2005. As a minor leaguer, Hill compiled high strikeout totals, and had an excellent curveball. He threw an 88–92 MPH fastball and a changeup as well. Hill spent part of the 2005 season with the Cubs, posting an 0–2 record. Again, in 2006, Hill split his season between the minor leagues and the majors. Despite his rookie status, Hill was the oldest member of the Cubs starting rotation during the second half of the 2006 season until the addition of Wade Miller.
Hill arrived in the big-leagues in 2005, gaining his first major league action on June 15, 2005 against the Florida Marlins. He pitched one inning of relief, giving up two runs on three hits and did not factor into the decision. His first start was on July 25, 2005 subbing for the oft-injured Kerry Wood against the San Francisco Giants. Once again he gave up two earned runs, but lasted five innings. The game was memorable due to Hill tripping over third-base on his way to the plate after a Todd Walker drive down the right-field line. With just one out and the Cubs down by one, Walker was forced to stop at first base, and Jerry Hairston, Jr. (who was behind Hill) at second. Hill did not score, and returned to third base unhurt. Unfortunately for the Cubs, the rally stopped, and Hill did not factor in the decision of the game.
In 2006, he started the season in AAA with the Iowa Cubs, but was called up on May 4 for a start against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Rich gained attention in Chicago later in the month during the cross-town classic with the White Sox. On May 20, Hill lost to the White Sox 7–0, and was the starter in the game that saw A.J. Pierzynski run over Cubs catcher Michael Barrett at the plate in a huge collision. In a subsequent interview, Hill stated that Pierzynski's collision with Barrett was "gutless" and "pathetic."  To that point of the season, Hill had given up 15 walks and 23 hits over 191⁄3 innings in his four major league starts with the Cubs, and had not yet established himself and was still in search of his first major league victory. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillén differed with Rich stating, "Who is Hill? That ... pitcher last night? Michael realized he was wrong in the interview, Michael realized he overreacted. I've known Michael; I coached Michael. Hill, he should be in Triple-A. He's going to make Dusty Baker be fired. You know, shut up. He just got up here to the big leagues; when you make a comment like that about a cheap shot, you don't know the game. ... Tell Mr. Hill to shut up and pitch before he gets sent down." Hill was sent back to AAA Iowa the next day.
Hill returned to the majors on July 27 with a start against the St. Louis Cardinals. He lasted only 31⁄3 innings, giving up four runs on six hits – walking three. On August 1, Hill defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks for his first major league victory, and on August 6, he got his second win and his first win streak. On September 6, Hill fanned a career high 11 batters in a Cubs victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Hill's first complete game and shutout came versus the Cincinnati Reds in a game in which he fanned 10 and allowed just two hits, on September 16. Hill's two complete games were the only CG's by the Cubs' pitching staff in the 2006 season, and he was one of the solid contributors in the rotation after being called back up, posting a 6–3 record with a 2.93 ERA.
Hill joined the starting rotation of the Cubs after spring training, and was the #4 starter in the rotation behind Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, and Jason Marquis. Hill pitched against the Milwaukee Brewers for his first start of the 2007 season, throwing a perfect game through the first five innings, and finishing with allowing just one hit, and one run over 7 innings pitched. He continued to excel during April, leading some to speculate that he was taking over as the ace in the Cubs rotation while he assembled a streak of 18 consecutive innings without an earned run. Former Cubs catcher Michael Barrett describes Rich's signature pitch as follows.
|“||[Hill's] curveball is so electric that the first couple of times I caught him, I had a tendency to come up on the curve because it bites so much. You just don't see a left-handed curveball like that anymore. When he's good, it doesn't hang, and it's nearly unhittable.||”|
Hill suffered a setback in Philadelphia, where he took his second loss of the season giving up five runs and left before getting any outs in the sixth inning. His next start in New York produced similar results posting his third loss, and Lou Piniella pointed to control problems. The troubles continued in San Diego during his next start, where he picked up his third consecutive loss 5–1 to the Padres and gave up four home runs. Piniella extended his analysis of Hill's throwing: "Not the same pitcher that left spring training. He was missing his spots. Some of those pitches that were hit out of the park, the catcher was sitting on the outside corner and the balls are inside, but they might have been outside. He's got to keep working. He's not throwing as hard, either, for whatever reason."
After having problems finding the strike zone, he was sent back down to triple-A Iowa.
After having a bad start in triple-A he was sent down to Rookie ball in Mesa. He made his first start in Mesa on July 1, 2008 going only 1/3 of an inning. Lou Pinella came on saying that Rich Hill was going to be shut down. He made one more start on July 8 going 4 scoreless innings. Any thoughts of him being shut down were recalled.
On July 16, 2008 he was called up to single-A Daytona. While there he made 3 starts, going 1–2.
Hill made his Orioles debut on May 16, 2009 going 52⁄3 with 6 strikeouts and was the winning pitcher. He started 13 games for Baltimore with a 3-3 record, a 7.80 ERA, and 46 strikeouts in 57.2 innings.
St. Louis Cardinals
On January 26, 2010, Hill signed a minor league contract with the St. Louis Cardinals with an invite to Spring training. He had a 4-3 record in 23 games (46 IP) plus a 4.30 ERA and 47 punchouts for the Cardinals AAA affiliate, the Memphis Redbirds. In June of that year, when he opted out of his contract with St. Louis.
Boston Red Sox
On June 30, 2010, Hill signed a minor league contract with the Boston Red Sox. He was assigned the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox. He had just opted out of his contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. On September 14, 2010, Hill made his debut with the Red Sox as a reliever against the Seattle Mariners, getting a win.
The Red Sox purchased Hill's contract on May 5, 2011.
On May 29, Hill injured his left throwing elbow and on June 9, he underwent Tommy John surgery to repair a torn Ulnar collateral ligament. In 9 games with the Sox, Hill did not give up an earned run.
On November 30, 2012, Hill was non-tendered, and became a free agent.
On January 31, 2014, The Red Sox signed Hill to a minor league deal after his release from the Indians.
In 2013, Hill signed a minor league deal with the Cleveland Indians.
Second stint with Red Sox
Hill signed a minor league deal with the Boston Red Sox on January 29, 2014.
Hill married high school sweetheart Caitlin McClellan, a nurse, on November 11, 2007. On October 7, 2011, Caitlin and Rich welcomed their first child, a son, Brice.
Hill had a second son, named Brooks, on December 26, 2013. He died February 24, 2014.
- Gano, Rick, Chi Cubs 3, San Francisco 2, Yahoo! Sports, Retrieved on June 6, 2007
- Hill: Pierzynski's collision 'gutless', Sun Sentinel, Retrieved on June 1, 2009
- Muskat, Carrie,Hill still has lessons to learn, MLB.com, Retrieved on June 6, 2007
- Wittenmyer, Gordon, Hill keeps 'em guessing, Chicago Sun-Times, Retrieved on June 6, 2007
- Winn, Luke, Thrown for a curve, Sports Illustrated, Retrieved on June 6, 2007
- Sullivan, Paul,Padres' solo act sinks Hill, Cubs, Chicago Tribune, Retrieved on June 6, 2007
- Odum, Charles,Cubs 2, Braves 1, Yahoo! Sports, Retrieved on June 14, 2007
- "Orioles acquire LHP Rich Hill from Cubs," Baltimore Orioles Press Release, Monday, February 2, 2009.
- Leach, Matthew (2010-01-26). "Cards sign Hill to Minor League deal". MLB.com. Retrieved 2010-12-28.
- Jenks & Wheeler to DL, Hill & Atchison called up, NECN.com, May 5, 2011.
- TOMMY JOHN SURGERIES FOR HILL, DAISUKE SET WEEI.com, June 9, 2011
- Speier, Alex (December 12, 2011). "Red Sox non-tender Rich Hill, sign Matt Albers, tender contracts to seven others". WEEI.
- Abraham, Peter (December 30, 2011). "Red Sox sign Hill to minor league contract". Boston Globe.
- Cafardo, Nick,Hill climber in Chicago, The Boston Globe ,Retrieved on June 6, 2007
- Bradford, Rob (March 6, 2014). "Rich Hill returns to Red Sox camp after passing of his newborn son". fullcount.weei.com. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rich Hill.|