PHOENIX — Rich Hill will pitch in a minor league game on Sunday afternoon rather than pitch in the Dodgers’ exhibition against Japan.
The game on the back fields allows for a more controlled environment (no high pitch-count innings, for instance) for Hill to continue to work on things while also getting built up for the season.
On Sunday, both Dodgers Class-A teams are home to battle Brewers minor leaguers.
Hill mentioned he was unhappy with his fastball command in his 3⅔ innings on Tuesday. He threw 60 pitches against the Reds, and on Sunday will likely be stretched to five innings and roughly 75 pitches.
"Mechanically, just getting more conviction behind the fastball is the biggest step moving forward,” Hill said on Tuesday. “Overall it's still a work in progress, for sure.”
With Hill on the back fields at Camelback Ranch, non-roster invitee and piano virtuoso Trevor Oaks will start for the Dodgers in their exhibition against Japan.
Oaks so far this spring has pitched in four Cactus League games, allowing one unearned run in 7⅔ innings, with seven strikeouts and three walks. He last pitched on Monday against the Angels in Tempe.
Brandon McCarthy will start on Monday against the Indians in Goodyear, and Hyun-Jin Ryu will start on Tuesday against the Brewers on Camelback Ranch before everyone in the rotation gets an extra day with Wednesday’s off day.
It hasn’t been determined yet whether Julio Urias will pitch next in a minor league game or in relief in a major league game, likely on Monday. "Everything is still on schedule," bench coach and acting manager Bob Geren said on Saturday.