Yesterday, the Boston Red Sox added lefty reliever Rich Hill to their 40 man roster. Hill has been recovering from Tommy John surgery, which cost him almost all of the 2011 season. The move is an encouraging sign for both Hill and the Boston Red Sox bullpen. The 31 year old pitcher has struggle with injuries throughout his seven major league seasons. Once a very promising starter, Hill is now slated to relieve and he excited Boston fans last season with 12 strikeouts in just eight innings prior to his elbow injury last season.
Hill had an opt-out clause that would have allowed him to become a free agent if he was not on the 40 man roster. This move allowsBostonto keep the lefty and puts his $750,000 salary on the team’s major league payroll. It also shows that the team is confident in Hill’s recovery. If healthy, Hill would almost certainly pass Franklin Morales as the top lefty in the Red Sox bullpen. With his strong strike out abilities (8.2 K/9 career), Hill would be a fantastic addition to what already looks like a very good bullpen, anchored by Andrew Bailey and Mark Melancon.
With Jonathan Papelbon leaving via free agency and Daniel Bard likely joining the rotation, the rebuilding of the bullpen has been a top priority for GM Ben Cherington. Hill’s return is another important piece in that process and could giveBostona third pitcher with closer potential.