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Rich Hill strikes out 10 in minor league rehab start

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LHP could rejoin Dodgers rotation next week

Philadelphia Phillies v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

Dodgers starter Rich Hill made a rehab start for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Thursday night, striking out 10 in his first game action in nearly four weeks.

Hill allowed two unearned runs in 4⅔ innings against Lake Elsinore, walking none with his 10 strikeouts. He threw 75 pitches, 58 for strikes. It was Hill’s first game since May 19, when he left after just two pitches with a blister on the middle finger of his left hand. The left-hander also missed three weeks earlier in the season with issues surrounding a cracked nail on that same finger.

Manager Dave Roberts said on Wednesday that if Hill’s finger withstands through four or five innings in his rehab start, Hill could potentially start next week against the Cubs in Chicago. As long as Hill’s blister holds up, that sounds extremely plausible.

As for the postgame spread:

Player of the day

Edwin Rios was 0-for-4 on Thursday for Oklahoma City, but is still hitting .302/.362/.524 in 16 games. Rios started at first base on Thursday, his ninth game at the position. He has also started twice at third base and once in left field.

Rios’ role with Oklahoma City and in the clubhouse was profiled by Jacob Unruh at The Oklahoman:

“I see both sides. That’s why I’m the big DJ. I have my Spanish music and I have my English music. I have guys in there from the Dominican and stuff like that where sometimes they can’t get their point across or can’t communicate, but I’m here. I can help them with that, so it’s awesome just to be able to help others and translate. It’s all of that hard work my parents put in for us.”

Triple-A Oklahoma City

Four different players had two hits and an RBI in OKC’s 4-1 win over the Salt Lake Bees (Angels). Both of Henry Ramos’s hits were doubles, and Andrew Toles and Jake Peter both doubled and singled, with Peter also stealing a base. Alex Verdugo was the fourth member of the two-hit club in the win.

Also relevant, in another article from Unruh, Kyle Farmer said, “Toles is an interesting cat, but he’s a man of the people.”

Tyler Pill pitched five scoreless innings in the win. A pair of 40-man relievers pitched in relief, with J.T. Chargois throwing a scoreless inning with a strikeout and a walk, and Pat Venditte allowing a run in his two innings, striking out four.

Double-A Tulsa

Andrew Sopko won his second straight start since joining the Drillers, pitching into the seventh while striking out six in a 5-2 win over the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Royals).

The Tulsa middle infield was super productive at the plate, with second baseman and leadoff man Errol Robinson scoring twice after a double, single, two walks and a stolen base. Shortstop Drew Jackson doubled twice and singled in four at-bats, also stealing a base and driving in two.

Also, Kristin Chenoweth threw out a ceremonial first pitch that not even Will Smith could frame.

Advanced Class-A Rancho Cucamonga

Offense was hard to come by in the Quakes 2-0 loss to the Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres), in a game that was chock full of major league rehabbers. In addition to Hill starting for Rancho Cucamonga, the Storm saw Joey Lucchesi start on the mound and Austin Hedges behind the plate.

Rancho Cucamonga only managed one baserunner in the first six innings, when catcher Steve Berman was hit by a pitch in the third inning. Rylan Bannon got the Quakes’ first hit in the seventh inning. Logan Landon got the other hit for Rancho, loading the bases after a pair of walks with two outs in the ninth. But Omar Estevez flew out to end the game.

Hill allowed three singles single and a double, and both of his runs were unearned thanks to two Quakes’ errors.

Class-A Great Lakes

The Loons led 6-0 after six innings but allowed three runs each in the final three innings to lose 9-6 to the West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers). Andre Jackson, the Dodgers’ 12th-round pick in 2017, struck out nine in five scoreless innings before things went south against the Great Lakes bullpen.

Center fielder Brayan Morales doubled twice, singled and stole his 30th base of the season in the loss. Third baseman Jared Walker was 3-for-5 with a triple and a double.

Transactions

Triple-A: Alex Burg was activated from the disabled list.

Class-A: Hill joined the Quakes for his rehab start; infielder Zach McKinstry was placed on the temporarily inactive list, and Steve Berman joined Rancho Cucamonga from extended spring training. In Great Lakes, pitcher Sven Schuller joined the Loons from extended spring training, and pitcher Max Gamboa was placed on the disabled list.

Thursday scores

Friday schedule

  • 4:05 p.m. PT: Great Lakes (Edwin Uceta) at Fort Wayne (TBD)
  • 5:05 p.m.: Oklahoma City (Manny Banuelos) vs. Salt Lake (Dylan Unsworth)
  • 5:05 p.m.: Tulsa (Devin Smeltzer) vs. Northwest Arkansas (TBD)
  • 6:15 p.m.: Ogden (TBD) at Idaho Falls (TBD)
  • 7:05 p.m.: Rancho Cucamonga (Dustin May) at Inland Empire [Angels] (Nate Bertness)

Rookie-level Ogden starts its Pioneer League season on Friday night.