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Rich Hill Credits Atlantic League for Latest Stint with Red Sox

“If the [Atlantic] League wasn’t there, I don’t know if we would be here talking right now,” Hill later said. “That’s something that I’m thankful for and grateful for, looking back on that opportunity that I was given to go and start in Long Island. Really, that’s something that I’ll always be thankful for.”

 

 
3 things to know about new Red Sox pitcher Rich Hill, a native of Milton
By Tom Westerholm
 
"There is an interest [in the Red Sox], without a doubt," Hill said in November.
 
Here are three things to know about new Red Sox pitcher Rich Hill — a Milton native who rejoined the Red Sox at age 42 on a one-year deal.
 
Hill wasn’t shy about coming home.
In November, Hill dropped a hint he could return to the Red Sox.
 
Per The Boston Globe‘s Alex Speier, Hill saw the Red Sox at the time as a team with “considerable” appeal.
 
“[The Red Sox] do things right,” Hill said, per Speier. “I’ve been around 14 organizations. … If I tell you that they’re in the upper echelon [of franchises], they’re doing pretty good. There is an interest [in the Red Sox], without a doubt.”
 
On Wednesday, Hill agreed to terms with the Red Sox, per the team. Hill will be on a one-year deal.
 
Hill has had a winding path.
Hill has played for 11 teams in 18 seasons — including four seasons with the Red Sox. Last year, Hill was 7-8 in 31 starts with an ERA of 3.86, finishing 6-4 with the Rays and 1-4 with the Mets. According to Baseball Savant, Hill’s fastball averaged 88.1 mph last season, and batters hit .269 against it. Against his curve — which made up 44.3 percent of his pitches — hitters batted .224.
 
Hill will turn 42 in March. He was drafted by the Cubs and pitched his first Major League game in 2005. After a year in Baltimore, Hill pitched for the Red Sox from 2010-12 and again in 2015.
 
The Red Sox once signed Hill out of the Atlantic League.
In 2015, Hill signed a deal in the independent Atlantic League, hoping to show Major League teams he could still be a starter after spending years in the bullpen. Hill was dominant, and the Red Sox signed him. After five starts in Pawtucket, Hill was called up to the Red Sox where he pitched 29 innings with a 1.55 ERA.
 

 

“If the [Atlantic] League wasn’t there, I don’t know if we would be here talking right now,” Hill later said. “That’s something that I’m thankful for and grateful for, looking back on that opportunity that I was given to go and start in Long Island. Really, that’s something that I’ll always be thankful for.”


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