Rich Hill's quest to cure the blisters that shaved off one-third of his dominant, mystifying 2016 season stopped at little.
The 36-year-old left-hander took some advice from Sandi Scully, Vin Scully's wife. He also followed the suggestion of an unnamed person who recommended he urinate on them.
"I mean, you might as well try it," Hill said Friday afternoon at Nationals Park, during a lengthy news conference the day before he is scheduled to start for the Dodgers in Game 2 of the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals.
He did try the suggested remedy. He does not think it worked.
Hill had been asked for the weirdest suggestion he heard during his bout with blisters. He answered with the urine, but there were others: Sandi Scully suggested applying a water-and-vinegar concoction and then drinking it.
Acquired from Oakland on Aug. 1, Hill has espoused the virtue of living in the moment. He believes that renewed focus carried him to the biggest stage yet, more than 14 years into his professional career.
Washington right-hander Tanner Roark, Hill's Game 2 counterpart, said he woke up Friday already nervous. Hill said he was not.
"Someone told me, 'You prepare so that the occasion rises to you, not so that you rise to the occasion,' " Hill said.
Hill spent 2015 spring training with the Nationals in Viera, Fla., then pitched in relief for triple-A Syracuse until the start of summer. He opted out of his contract, worked out with an American Legion team back home in Massachusetts, pitched for an independent team on Long Island, and then signed a minor-league deal with Boston.
He made five triple-A starts and then four dominant starts for the Red Sox before the season ended, received interest from several teams, and signed a one-year, $6-million deal with Oakland.
He is expected to make much more this off-season.
In the end, Nationals Manager Dusty Baker owned up to his gamesmanship.
The Nationals announced Friday that Roark would start Game 2, followed by Gio Gonzalez in Game 3.
Baker insisted Thursday that the Nationals were undecided, a week after knowing they would play the Dodgers and the series would start in Washington.
"We weren't debating that much," Baker said. "We were just kind of messing with you guys, to tell you the truth."
Baker had a simple explanation for the Nationals deciding to start right-handers Max Scherzer and Roark in the first two games of the series.
"We went with our two best," Baker said.
The Dodgers batted .213 off of left-handers, the lowest figure in the major leagues, and they went 22-24 against left-handed starters. But Gonzalez, the Nationals' lone left-handed starter, went 11-11 with 4.57 earned-run average this season, including a 7.43 ERA in his final five starts.
Scherzer went 20-7 with a 2.96 ERA. Roark went 16-10 with a 2.83 ERA.
On the eve of his first career postseason start, Roark readily admitted to being nervous.
"If you're not nervous," he said, "you're not human."
Roark, who turned 30 on Wednesday, will make his first career postseason start.
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