Hill to rejoin Red Sox bullpen as roster expands

Hill to rejoin Red Sox bullpen as roster expands

Hill to rejoin Red Sox bullpen as roster expands
OAKLAND -- Considering some of the other injuries that Rich Hill has been forced to deal with in his career, this strained flexor in his left elbow that kept him away from the Red Sox for the last 11 weeks was just a minor annoyance.

Hill's competitive fire has helped him bounce back repeatedly. His latest comeback will occur on Saturday, when the expansion of rosters will allow the Red Sox to officially activate him from the disabled list.

"I mean, obviously it was just a bump in the road looking back on it but you want to be back out there competing, getting after it. I'm looking forward to pitching," said Hill.

For Hill, the one thing that ticked him off about his most recent injury is that he had just come all the way back from Tommy John ligament transfer surgery, stepping back on the mound for Boston less than 11 months from the day he underwent the procedure.

"With all the work that you put in in the offseason and all the work that comes into coming back and having obviously a setback like this, it is frustrating, no doubt about it," Hill said. "You see how far and how hard you worked to come back and then have something happen is just part of the game, I guess."

Interestingly, Hill feels that longevity can actually be something he carves out as a niche.

Though he is no longer on the path to be a front-line starting pitcher, as was once the case with the Cubs, Hill could last for several years in his current role as a lefty specialist. He has both a rebuilt shoulder and elbow.

"[Like] Darren Oliver. I want to," Hill said. "That's what I want to do. I want to pitch for a long time. That would be great. The more you can keep yourself in shape and stay competitive and work hard in the offseason and put the time in in the weight room with your throwing program, and like I was saying, be smart about it, the better. You can maintain your body and stay around for a long time."

The Milton, Mass., native would love to keep pitching for the Red Sox, the franchise he has been with since 2010.

Hill hasn't heard from the Red Sox yet about a new deal, but it's not hard to imagine something will happen this winter.

"I think that's too far ahead," Hill said. "Obviously that's something that would be great but that's not the focus right now. I think, for me, I'm looking forward to tomorrow and the day after that. So it's a day-at-a-time process."