Hill regains rhythm in Minor League outing

Left-hander working to overcome early mound struggles

Hill regains rhythm in Minor League outing

MESA, Ariz. -- It may have merely been a sideshow, but Rich Hill's performance on a Minor League field Sunday morning proved significant.

The A's left-hander found a rhythm that had eluded him in his first three Cactus League outings, relying on restored mechanics to complete five innings, with only one hit allowed.

Spring Training information

Hill was far from perfect in the 87-pitch outing; he said he hit three batters and walked two. But even when he was out of sorts, he felt he was able to correct the issue quicker than before.

"What I was really excited about was making the adjustment back to the next pitch," Hill said. "If I pulled a fastball, making the adjustment to locate a fastball on the next pitch. That was the biggest thing, was just continuing to make competitive pitches throughout the outing."

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Hill's next start, presumably against the Angels at home on Friday, will offer a good indicator of the strides he feels he made Sunday. He was withheld from a big league matchup with the White Sox, with Sean Manaea drawing the start, since he's expected to face them during the season's opening series at the Coliseum.

In Hill's first three spring games, he allowed 13 runs and 10 hits with 12 walks across 7 2/3 innings. In the days since, the veteran immersed himself in video, hoping to rebound from an inauspicious start with his new team.

"It's funny, watching video from last year to a couple outings in Spring Training, you just change things over the offseason without even subconsciously doing it," he said.

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Staying closed throughout his delivery was essential Sunday, as was an improved arm slot and a better directional route to the plate. In sum, he said, "it was a positive day."

"It was good to get some good work in," Hill said. "I'm progressively making good strides."

Worth noting

The A's reassigned seven players to Minor League camp following the conclusion of Sunday's game, including top prospect Franklin Barreto. Infielders Matt Olson and Chad Pinder, catcher Bryan Anderson and right-handers Angel Castro, Ryan Brasier and Eduard Santos were also sent down.

Barreto hit .217 with three home runs in his first big league camp.

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.