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Dodgers starter Rich Hill to make minor league rehab start

Los Angeles Times sportswriters Jorge Castillo and Dylan Hernandez break down the first part of the Dodgers' 2019 season and what they need to do to get back on track.

Rich Hill will make a rehab start for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Wednesday in Lake Elsinore as he approaches the final steps in his return to the Dodgers after beginning the season on the injured list.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Hill is scheduled to pitch four innings in the game and another inning in the bullpen. Hill, 39, suffered a strained medial collateral ligament in his knee in mid-March. He logged a three-inning, 46-pitch simulated game Friday at Dodger Stadium. He said he didn’t feel pain and that his knee brace, which bothered him in an earlier bullpen session, was not a problem.

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Hill said he hopes Wednesday’s outing will be his only rehab start before joining the Dodgers’ rotation. Roberts said that is to be determined.

“I think we’re just going to go start to start,” Roberts said. “So once we get through that, then we can assess. So obviously, the second start is on the table, but there’s room to talk. It’s just contingent on how it goes.”

Hill was one of the three left-handed starters on the Dodgers’ 10-day injured list until Monday, when Clayton Kershaw was activated to make his season debut against the Cincinnati Reds. Hyun-Jin Ryu was the third left-hander to go on the injured list last week after straining his left groin in a start against the St. Louis Cardinals. He threw 40 pitches in a bullpen session Monday at Dodger Stadium.

Barnes carrying the load behind the plate

Russell Martin’s back injury last week shifted the catching onus onto Austin Barnes. The catcher made his sixth start in seven days Monday against the Reds. Entering the game, Barnes was two for 17 with two walks since Martin suffered his lower back injury. Rocky Gale, Martin’s replacement, was hitless in four at-bats with three strikeouts and a throwing error in his only start since joining the club from triple-A Oklahoma City. Roberts said Gale will get the start Tuesday.

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