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Hill aiming for 4 innings in first rehab start

Urias to join 'pen upon southpaw's return
@kengurnick
April 16, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers left-handed pitcher Rich Hill said he will make a Minor League rehab start Wednesday night for Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga at Lake Elsinore. Hill, who began the season on the injured list because of a strained left knee sustained in a March 17 Spring Training

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers left-handed pitcher Rich Hill said he will make a Minor League rehab start Wednesday night for Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga at Lake Elsinore.

Hill, who began the season on the injured list because of a strained left knee sustained in a March 17 Spring Training start, said a decision on whether he will need a second rehab start before rejoining the big league rotation will be made after Wednesday night’s outing.

“A second start is on the table,” manager Dave Roberts said. “But there’s room to talk, contingent on how it goes.”

Hill said Rancho Cucamonga was selected because of an unfavorable weather report for Triple-A Oklahoma City. Hill said the location and quality of opposition doesn’t matter to him.

“The competition shouldn’t be a factor, because if you see the stuff plays, why wouldn’t it play here or Triple-A or wherever?” Hill asked. “That makes sense to me.”

Hill went through fielding drills for the first time Monday to further test the knee. He said he will pitch in the brace that he has been using the past few weeks while recovering.

Roberts said the hope is for Hill to pitch four innings or 60 pitches. Roberts reiterated that when Hill returns to the rotation, Julio Urias will be sent to the bullpen. Urias is 0-1 with a 5.27 ERA in three starts and is slated to start again Thursday.

“We’ve had a set plan for Julio as far as after we made the decision that he was going to start for us, once a starter gets back, we’re going to send him to the ‘pen to control his innings,” said Roberts. “I expect Julio to pitch well, but I don’t think that will affect our decision.”

A return by Hill as soon as next week, along with Clayton Kershaw’s return Monday night, leaves the Dodgers starting rotation missing only Hyun-Jin Ryu, who went on the injured list last week with a slight left groin strain.

Ryu threw a 40-pitch bullpen session Monday and reported feeling fine, Roberts said.

Worth noting

• Roberts said that he, chairman Mark Walter and presidents Stan Kasten and Andrew Friedman presented 2018 National League champion rings to former Dodgers Matt Kemp, Alex Wood and Kyle Farmer on Monday. The Dodgers also had rings for Yasiel Puig, who had not yet arrived at Dodger Stadium, and hitting coach Turner Ward, who was working with Reds batters in the cage.

“It was just very informal,” said Roberts. “Just sharing some stories, saying hello and more so us just thanking them for what they did to help us accomplish what we accomplished last year and wishing them well.”

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.