The Oakland A's agreed to terms with free agent left-handed pitcher Rich Hill on a one-year contract, the club announced today. To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, the A's designated right-handed pitcher A.J. Griffin for assignment.
Hill began the 2015 season in the bullpen at Triple-A Syracuse in the Washington farm system but finished it in the starting rotation with Boston where he went 2-1 with a 1.55 ERA in four starts during a September call-up. He walked just five batters while striking out 36 in 29.0 innings with the Red Sox and held the opposition to a .141 batting average. The 35-year-old left-hander went 2-2 with a 2.91 ERA in 25 relief appearances with Syracuse before he was released June 24. He signed with Long Island of the independent Atlantic League and did not allow a run in two starts before signing a minor league deal with Boston Aug. 14. Hill went 3-2 with a 2.78 ERA in five starts with Pawtucket and combined for a 6-4 record, a 2.35 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 65.0 minor league and independent innings.
Hill was originally drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the fourth round of the 2002 draft and made his Major League debut with the Cubs in 2005. He went 18-17 with a 4.37 ERA in 64 games, including 57 starts, in four seasons with Chicago and 3-3 with a 7.80 ERA in 14 games, 13 starts, in 2009 with Baltimore before moving to the bullpen. Hill pitched exclusively in relief with Boston (2010-12), Cleveland (2013), Los Angeles-AL (2014) and New York-AL (2014) before returning to the Red Sox last year. He has spent parts of each of the last 11 seasons in the majors and is 26-23 with a 4.54 ERA in 201 career appearances, including 74 starts.
Griffin spent most of the season on the disabled list and did not pitch with Oakland in 2015. He began the year on the DL as he continued his recovery from Tommy John surgery and was optioned to Triple-A Nashville June 13 after a rehab assignment. Griffin combined for an 0-1 record and a 3.77 ERA in four starts with Single-A Stockton and Nashville before going on the DL a second time June 20 with a strained right shoulder. He missed the remainder of the season.