A sense of déjà vu pervaded the hallway outside the Dodgers clubhouse Wednesday afternoon as Manager Dave Roberts found himself once again discussing the nettlesome blister on Rich Hill's left middle finger.
The team had hoped Hill had conquered the issue when he debuted with a mostly spotless performance against San Francisco last week. He was scheduled to start Tuesday, and threw 40 pitches in the bullpen before rain canceled the game against the Colorado Rockies. When he came to the clubhouse Wednesday, slated to pitch in the second half of a doubleheader, the team discovered a recurrence of symptoms.
And so Hill was scratched from the nightcap. Bud Norris will start in a "bullpen game," Roberts said after a 7-0 loss in the matinee. Roberts is hopeful that Hill can pitch this weekend against San Diego. The training staff will continue to treat the blister.
"Looking at it throughout the day, there was a little bit of heat and a little bit of tenderness," Roberts said. "Every player feels they can get through it. But I don't think a blister can be willed to stay healthy, no matter how much will he has. It's just more to err on the side of caution."
Acquired from Oakland on Aug. 1. along with slump-stricken outfielder Josh Reddick, Hill was sidelined for three weeks because of the blister. The wound first appeared on his hand during an outing for the Athletics on July 7. He spun six scoreless innings against the Giants on Aug. 24.
Hill was not available to reporters in between games. Roberts described Hill as "adamant" about his ability to pitch with the blister, but willing to accept the team's recommendation.
"He wasn't upset," Roberts said. "I think he was completely understanding of the situation. The decision was made in his best interest, as well as ours. As disappointed as he was, he understands."