Rich Hill was an afterthought earlier this summer, when he was released by the Nationals and out of work.

Rich Hill was an afterthought earlier this summer, when he was released by the Nationals and out of work. However, since his resurgence as a starter with the Red Sox — a 1.55 ERA through 29 innings over four starts — the left-hander appears to be in good position to get some interest as a free agent.

“I’m looking forward to it,” the 35-year-old told’s Rob Bradford of the upcoming offseason. “It’s just that body of work. You can’t look at that and deny what’s going on. Anybody in baseball who knows the game, if you’re looking at it you have to acknowledge there’s a lot there. I think for me, I have to be a proponent of myself and go out there and continue to fight off the field as much as I did off the field.

“The four games I pitched aren’t four games you look at and say, ‘That was just dumb luck.’ I faced the best hitters in the American League, and doing it in the American League East is something that can’t be denied.”

Hill, a native of Milton, is making the big league minimum this season, his 11th in the majors. But he has a newfound confidence following his incredible September.

“I’ve never spoke like this before in the past because for me to be humble is extremely important. But in this part of the game you have to go out and stand up for yourself and that’s something I’m looking forward to doing in the offseason,” Hill said.

“It’s confidence. It’s going out there and saying, ‘I can pitch for anybody, against anybody, anytime, anywhere.’ I feel very [full of conviction].”

For more from Hill, check out Rob Bradford’s column. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at

Blog Author: 

Rich Hill is looking forward to life as a free agent this offseason. (Elsa/Getty Images)NEW YORK -- This was Rich Hill's time.

Rich Hill‘s remarkable September didn’t quite carry over to October, but the left-hander has nothing to feel bad about after the Red Sox dropped a 4-1 decision to

Rich Hill‘s remarkable September didn’t quite carry over to October, but the left-hander has nothing to feel bad about after the Red Sox dropped a 4-1 decision to the Yankees on Thursday.

Barely two months ago, Hill was toiling with the independent-league Long Island Ducks. Now, after making his first four starts in the big leagues since 2009, the Milton native has forced himself into the discussion to at least get a shot at somebody’s rotation next spring ‘€“ maybe even with the Red Sox.

Dominant in his first three starts this season (2-0, 1.17 ERA, 30 Ks in 23 IP), Hill finished the season on a solid note, allowing two runs and six hits in six innings against the Yankees. He struck out six, including his final three batters of the season ‘€“ Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran, and Chris Young.

Hill’s only mistakes came in the second, when Beltran led off with a homer, and a pair of walks set up Brendan Ryan for a two-out RBI single to left. Otherwise, the Yankees managed virtually nothing off Hill.

The only problem is the Red Sox could do even less with Yankees counterpart CC Sabathia, who allowed six hits and a run in five innings before yielding to Adam Warren, who shut down the Red Sox over three scoreless innings of relief.

The Red Sox’ best chance at doing some damage came in the seventh, when Josh Rutledge led off with a single and Mookie Betts sent Chris Young back to the left field fence to haul in his long drive. Betts had been bidding for his fourth homer of the series.

With the victory, the Yankees clinched a wild card berth and booked passage to the postseason for the first time since 2012, when Derek Jeter broke his ankle during a sweep by the Tigers in the American League Championship Series.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

A couple of playing time notes with the Red Sox concluding their penultimate series in New York on Thursday night.

Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts

A couple of playing time notes with the Red Sox concluding their penultimate series in New York on Thursday night.

Interim manager Torey Lovullo doesn’t expect to move shortstop Xander Bogaerts into the leadoff hole in a bid to help him reach 200 hits for the season. Bogaerts, who began the night with 194 hits, hasn’t hit anywhere other than third since Aug. 6.

“We have such good lineup continuity, I wouldn’t want to put one guy before the team at this point,” Lovullo said before the game. “I know this team would step aside for him and do that, it’s the kind of group we have right now. But I feel like it’s moving in a really good direction right now and we probably need to stay away from that.”

Also, no determination has been made on the playing time of veteran David Ortiz during the final weekend, though Lovullo intimated that Ortiz has basically given more than enough with the season drawing to a close. He didn’t start on Thursday because of general soreness.

“He’s had a really, really good season,” Lovullo said. “And I don’t want to put him in a situation where he’s going to run up against an injury, out of fairness to him. I’ve been saying all along, he’s played through days off, he played through a lot of days off in that little run that he was on.

“Chasing 500 home runs was bigger than any day off for me and I just wanted to make sure the medical team would sign off on it, David wanted to play, and just kept playing him through those days. So he deserves this time down.”

Lovullo said that if Ortiz plays again, he’d likely be replaced at some point during each game for a pinch runner or pinch hitter.

“I think it’s fair to him, to get him off his feet,” Lovullo said.

(Rob Bradford contributed to this report from New York.)

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

File this under Mystifying Feuds: CC Sabathia vs. Jackie Bradley Jr.

CC Sabathia often shows emotion on the mound. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

CC Sabathia often shows emotion on the mound. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

File this under Mystifying Feuds: CC Sabathia vs. Jackie Bradley Jr.

When the Red Sox played the Yankees in New York earlier this summer, the YES Network ran a fascinating montage of Sabathia basically losing his mind every time Bradley finished an at-bat ‘€“ gesturing at him, swearing at him, and in one instance, drilling him before mockingly asking, “Are you OK?” as he took first base.

As competitive as Sabathia is, it certainly looks like there’s something more there, so what is it?

“I don’t know,” Bradley told recently. “I don’t. I wish I did. I know he’s a competitor, and I’m a competitor as well. Maybe it’s just his way of competing, but I don’t think anything against it. I’m still trying to do my job, make it hard on him, and he’s trying to make it hard on me.

“I’ve noticed it, but I don’t feed into it or give it any attention. That’s something you’ll have to ask him. I don’t have any animosity or anything. He’d be the person to ask if he has something against me.”

OK, then. How about it, CC ‘€“ what do you have against Bradley?

“I don’t have anything to say about that,” Sabathia told recently. “I have nothing against him. I don’t.”

Told that Bradley thought maybe it had something to do with competitiveness, Sabathia nodded.

“That’s exactly what it is,” Sabathia said. “I want to beat you. I don’t have nothing against him, no.”

This is relevant because Sabathia pitches in Yankee Stadium on Thursday night with New York trying to clinch a playoff berth, and Bradley will presumably be in the lineup for the Red Sox.

The next hit Bradley gets off Sabathia will be his first. He enters the game 0-for-9 with six strikeouts and three walks against the big left-hander. Two of those walks came in Bradley’s very first game, on Opening Day in 2013, when the Red Sox beat Sabathia and the Yankees 8-2. Bradley fell behind 0-2 in his first plate appearance before working a walk to load the bases in the second inning, later scoring as part of a four-run frame.

Who knows if that set Sabathia off, but future encounters have proven strangely hostile, with Sabathia yelling, “Sorry-ass [expletive],” at Bradley after a 2014 strikeout (link title is NSFW), and sarcastically asking if he was OK after hitting him that same year.

“I have nothing against it,” Bradley said. “If that’s his way of showing emotion or expression, I have nothing against it. He’s been in the game for a long time. He obviously knows what he’s been doing. What I mean by that, as in he’s a veteran. He knows how to operate.”

It’s hard to imagine what Bradley, a 25-year-old with only 688 lifetime at-bats, could’ve done to upset Sabathia, a six-time All-Star and former Cy Young Award winner who’s 10 years his senior.

But it sure looks like there’s something there. So watch closely when Bradley faces Sabathia on Thursday.

“He’s going to be him,” Bradley said with a shrug. “I’m going to keep playing ball.”

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

After extending their season-high winning streak to six games Wednesday night via a 9-5 win in 11 innings, the Red Sox have the opportunity to complete a sweep at Yankee Stadium for the first time since June 2011 and again keep New York from clinching a postseason berth.

The finale will be a battle of 35-year-old veterans, as the Sox will send the resurgent Rich Hill to the mound to counter CC Sabathia.

Hill (2-0, 1.17 ERA) has proven to be a remarkable comeback story since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on Sept. 8. The left-hander, who had not started a major league game since 2009, has yet to lose in his three outings, holding batters to a .127 average.

Hill is the first pitcher since 1900 to make a debut in September or later and have 10 or more strikeouts in each of his first three starts that season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The Milton native most recently saw the Orioles last Friday, throwing a complete-game shutout. He allowed just two hits and one walk during Boston’€™s 7-0 win.

“For a guy that has resurrected his career in the way that he has, it’s very, very impressive,” interim manager Torey Lovullo said following the game. “You’re starting to get the feel that this is a little bit of a habit.”

Hill has yet to see the Yankees this season, but has faced them nine times (one start) over the course of his career, going 0-1 with a 8.31 ERA over 8 2/3 innings.

Sabathia (5-10, 4.82) owns the worst win-loss percentage of his 15-year career at .333. He’€™s 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA over four starts in the month of September.

He’€™s coming off a loss against the White Sox last Friday, going 6 2/3 innings while allowing six hits and four runs with three strikeouts and a pair of walks.

“[I was] OK, but OK wasn’t good enough to win,” Sabathia said after the game. “I have to be better, especially late in the game. I have to hold the score and keep us right there, give us a chance to win.”

Sabathia is dealing with bone-on-bone arthritis in his right knee but is capable of pitching due to a brace that enables him to avoid feeling pain as he lands on his front foot while pitching.

The 6-foot-7 left-hander is no stranger to the Red Sox, facing them 31 times over the course of career and posting an 11-12 record with a 4.54 ERA. In two starts against Boston in 2015, Sabathia is 0-0 with a 2.25 ERA.

Sabathia is 2-4 with a 5.72 ERA over 13 starts at Yankee Stadium this year.

Red Sox vs. Sabathia (RHP)

David Ortiz (78 plate appearances): .229 AVG/.295 OBP/.357 SLG, 3 doubles, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 5 walks, 17 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (68): .279/.353/.328, 3 doubles, 3 RBIs, 6 walks, 15 strikeouts

Ryan Hanigan (16): .375/.375/.625, 1 double, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts

Xander Bogaerts (15): .182/.400/.273, 1 double, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts

Jackie Bradley Jr. (13): .000/.308/.000, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts

Pablo Sandoval (9): .143/.333/.143, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Rusty Castillo is 1-for-3 with an RBI and a strikeout.

Allen Craig is 1-for-3 with a solo home run and two strikeouts.

Josh Rutledge is 0-for-3 with three strikeouts.

Mookie Betts is 0-for-2 with an RBI.

Brock Holt is 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout.

Yankees vs. Hill (LHP)

Brian McCann (10 plate appearances): .111 AVG/.200 OBP/.111 SLG, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Dustin Ackley (5): .250/.400/.250, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Carlos Beltran (5): .400/.400/.400, 1 RBI

Stephen Drew (5): .250/.400/.250, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Jacoby Ellsbury (5): .600/.600/1.200, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 1 strikeout

Chris Young (5): .000/.200/.000, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Brendan Ryan is 2-for-3 with a double.

Brett Gardner is 1-for-2 with a strikeout.

Alex Rodriguez is 1-for-1 with 2 RBIs and a walk.

Chase Headley is 1-for-1.

Blog Author: