It appears Red Sox Nation can do a little rejoicing this afternoon! According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Glove (via Twitter), the Red Sox have activated and recalled lefty specialist, Rich Hill, from Pawtucket. Justin Thomas, who has an minor league option remaining, has been demoted in his place.
Hill caught the attention of many Red Sox fans last season after he reinvented himself from a starting pitcher with control issues to a side-arming left specialist with a brutally wicked curveball. Things started out very well for Hill as he posted a 12/3 K/BB ratio over his first 8 innings with the Sox. His success would be short lived as he ended up tearing the Ulnar Collateral Ligament in his left elbow during his ninth appearance for the Red Sox. Now, Hill returns to the fold less than ten months after tearing his UCL in his throwing elbow; a pretty remarkable recovery time for a pitcher that underwent Tommy John surgery.
While minor league competition is unquestionably inferior to the quality displayed in the majors, Hill has shown no signs of post-surgery complications. In nine innings scattered between Greenville, Salem, and Pawtucket, Hill has put together a stunningly impressive 18/2 K/BB ratio to go along with a 2.00 ERA. In desperate need of quality pitching out of the bullpen, the Red Sox brass didn’t hesitate in calling the lefty to the majors. In all honesty, a shutdown lefty like Hill could significantly alter the complexion of the Red Sox bullpen.
Thomas has had a pretty rough go of it in Boston this month. He struggled in his 4-2/3 innings of work, allowing four runs and 12 baserunners, while striking out only four. Perhaps the most important aspect of his demotion is that Bobby V won’t have the option of calling Thomas from the bullpen in the most crucial of situations. For that, we can all breathe a sigh of relief.