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Hill encouraged by start against Mets

Lefty struck out a season-high eight batters in win
MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- For Dodgers starter Rich Hill, this season has been a rollercoaster.

Looked upon to be an integral piece for the Dodgers, Hill has had two stints on the disabled list dealing with a blister issue, short outings and has had struggles with his command. Hill has walked 21 of 126 batters (16.7 percent) over the last month, which ranks 170 of 174 qualified starting pitchers in MLB. The National League average is 7.7 percent.

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LOS ANGELES -- For Dodgers starter Rich Hill, this season has been a rollercoaster.

Looked upon to be an integral piece for the Dodgers, Hill has had two stints on the disabled list dealing with a blister issue, short outings and has had struggles with his command. Hill has walked 21 of 126 batters (16.7 percent) over the last month, which ranks 170 of 174 qualified starting pitchers in MLB. The National League average is 7.7 percent.

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But Hill's latest start, Wednesday's 8-2 win over the Mets, in which he had a season-high eight strikeouts and allowed four hits, was an encouraging sign for Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.

"I think that the most important thing is that he has confidence in himself," Roberts said. "I think after that outing there's a little sigh of relief and exhale. I think that today he's feeling pretty good about himself and that's a good thing."

Hill added a new pitch to his repertoire, using a cutter/fastball combination, something he said he worked with ace Clayton Kershaw on last week.

"Talking with Clayton in particular just about how he throws it," Hill said Wednesday night, "I figured using that is such a good weapon you're in counts when you're behind if there's runners on first and second. That could be a huge pitch that keeps you in the zone."

The next step for Hill is to go deeper in games and be more efficient. The southpaw has thrown at least 98 pitches in his last four starts and hasn't lasted more than five innings in a game this year.

"It's something to build on," Roberts said. "I know there's more in there, there's more efficiency and going deeper into games. The command, execution, all of that stuff was considerably better than Cleveland. That's something definitely a positive."

Worth noting

• The Dodgers plan to have lefty Julio Urias come to Los Angeles in the next few days, Roberts said. Urias, who was MLBPipeline's No. 4 prospect in 2016, was placed on the disabled list by Triple-A Oklahoma City because of shoulder soreness. Roberts said Urias has been in Arizona at the Dodgers Spring Training facility and hopes to see Urias this weekend.

"I don't know right now," Roberts said. "It's still kind of fuzzy trying to constitute some information."

Joshua Thornton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Rich Hill