The Angels made their second move in five days in an effort to bolster their bullpen, acquiring veteran left-hander Rich Hill from the Boston Red Sox organization for cash before Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox in U.S. Cellular Field.
Hill, 34, was 3-3 with a 3.23 earned run average in 25 games for triple-A Pawtucket this season. He went 1-2 with a 6.28 ERA in 63 games for Cleveland last season but held left-handers to a .238 average. Hill has held left-handers to a .215 mark during a nine-year career in which he is 24-22 with a 4.74 ERA.
“He throws his fastball 90-95 mph, and he has a huge curve,” said Angels reliever Joe Smith, an Indians teammate of Hill in 2013. “If he’s on, he can get anyone out. He can definitely help us.”
Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said Hill, who is 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, will be used primarily as a left-handed specialist. The Angels have not had a left-hander in their bullpen for most of this season.
“Hopefully he brings a little more balance to the bullpen,” Scioscia said. “We’re trying to get a left-hander who can help us in certain situations. He has a plus fastball, and he really spins the ball well."
Last Friday, in an exchange of struggling and demoted closers, the Angels acquired veteran right-hander Jason Grilli from Pittsburgh for Ernesto Frieri.
General Manager Jerry Dipoto is expected to continue his efforts to improve the bullpen, with Philadelphia Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon and San Diego Padres closer Huston Street among the relievers he is expected to target.
“Any moves that are made are to strengthen your staff at the present time,” Scioscia said. “Where it leads to, where you are two weeks or a month from now, you never know. But these moves are made for a reason. It’s not a tryout. Jerry feels at this point that [Hill] is going to give us a better look, so we want to explore that.”