After his blister problem reappeared in his most recent outing, Dodgers lefty Rich Hill is heading back to the DL, per a club announcement. For the time being, corner outfielder/infielder Rob Segedin is headed up to the active roster while Alex Wood will take the open rotation spot.
There’s plenty of uncertainty in Hill’s situation. As things stand, the team is examining ways to treat the ongoing problem, though there’s no timetable at present and it seems there’s little in the way of clear answers. Manager Dave Roberts acknowledged that the organization’s medical staff has been stymied thus far in its efforts to get at the root cause, as MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports on Twitter. (Gurnick provided more detail on the confounding issue earlier today.)
The strategy of utilizing the 10-day DL to provide rest obviously wasn’t successful on its own. As Roberts notes, and Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times tweets, “ten days wasn’t enough.” Whether additional rest will provide a solution obviously isn’t known, though presumably that’s one possible action. It’s even possible that the veteran southpaw could move to the bullpen upon his return, Roberts says (as Plunkett tweets), with the idea presumably being that shorter stints may help alleviate the problem.
Fortunately, the Dodgers do have ample depth built into their plans. Every member of the current MLB staff has at least some significant recent injury on his record, but the current top five seems to be a strong and healthy unit at the moment. Swingman Ross Stripling could also step into the rotation, while Triple-A starters Julio Urias and Joe Gunkel could also be called upon. Scott Kazmir and Brock Stewart both represent additional starting options who are currently on the mend.
While the organization always knew there was some health risk with the 37-year-old Hill, that doesn’t soften the blow. The Dodgers promised Hill $48MM over three years to bring him back into the fold, so while a bullpen move might at least allow him to contribute and stay fresh while the team looks for a permanent fix, such an approach would surely not return value on the contract over the long run.