Hill back on DL with blister; Dodgers 'baffled'

'We're open to anything right now,' Roberts says as club weighs options

Hill back on DL with blister; Dodgers 'baffled'

LOS ANGELES -- Other than putting him back on the disabled list, the Dodgers don't know what to do with Rich Hill and his chronic finger blister.

Hill went on the 10-day DL on Monday for the second time in 11 days. Infielder Rob Segedin was recalled and started at first base against Arizona on Monday night. Alex Wood will move into the starting rotation and pitch on Friday, swapping places with Kenta Maeda, who starts on Saturday.

Manager Dave Roberts said Hill played catch Monday with a bandage on the middle finger of his throwing hand to protect the blister while keep his shoulder loose. Roberts said Hill woud try playing catch without the covering on Tuesday.

If throwing a baseball to heal skin damaged by throwing a baseball sounds counterintuitive, well, the Dodgers concede they've exhausted every option they know for Hill, who has been fighting blisters for two years.

"We're open to anything right now," said Roberts. "I'm at a loss for words. We're baffled as well."

The club knew the risk when signing him to a $48 million contract in December. Now, Roberts said "everything is on the table" in terms of dealing with the issue, including completely shutting him down indefinitely, although Roberts sounded skeptical because the blister has only surfaced in actual games.

"Put it this way -- he was shut down all winter and it came back," said Roberts. "We had no problem with it.Then in his first start, it showed its ugly face again. You could argue that resting it isn't the solution. He had as much rest as he could. There wasn't a sign of it until he made his first start. That third finger is really important for that breaking ball. That's just the way it is."

Roberts said the club doesn't want to let Hill pitch until the blister rips open as it did last year, even though it healed enough to allow him to nearly throw a perfect game and be effective in the postseason.

That process, though, also shelved Hill for two months. Using him out of the bullpen is an option, Roberts said. If he comes back as a starter, he would have at least one rehab start to assure that he won't need to cut it short prematurely.

Among the other options are to have Hill adjust the grip on his signature curveball to relieve the pressure it puts on the blister. The Dodgers also have contacted their trainer of 22 years, Stan Johnston, whose Stan's Rodeo Ointment and Stan's Blister Rub has been used by pitchers effectively for years.

"We're getting a lot of things in our inbox on suggestions," Roberts said. "The training staff is on it. Just waiting for the right result. They're trying everything."

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.