The sight of Rich Hill clutching his left elbow in pain after throwing a pitch in the seventh inning Wednesday was not a good one. The Red Sox are hoping that that vision is the worst that comes of it.
Hill was scheduled to receive an MRI on the elbow late in the afternoon. He did pass a series of strength and movement tests given immediately after his departure from the mound, a positive sign for those in the clubhouse. The team is hoping that their emerging left-hander dodged a bullet.
"The cursory examination, he actually looked OK, which is good," manager Terry Francona said.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia was behind the plate at the time.
"Originally, I was just concentrating on catching the pitch, but I looked up and noticed him definitely grabbing the elbow and in some pain," he said. "He said he felt something pop in there and some burning. Hopefully everything turns out OK, but it's really scary when it's the elbow."
Hill had shoulder surgery in 2009 and elbow stiffness earlier that year when he was a starter with Baltimore. He had converted himself to a reliever with Boston and incorporated a newly developed sidearm delivery.
The results have been fantastic. Hill has thrown eight scoreless innings this year, striking out 12 and walking just two. That's what has the Red Sox holding their breath.
"Yeah, it's tough," said second baseman Dustin Pedroia. "Rich is throwing the ball great. He's got great stuff, so hopefully he'll be OK."
Hill's colleagues in the bullpen felt some of the pain themselves.
"Obviously, from my standpoint, it's not good to see one your fellow guys out there hurting after throwing a pitch," said Matt Albers, whom Hill relieved. "Hopefully it's something minor and he can come right back."
The team should know more about Hill's condition Thursday.