OAKLAND — Rich Hill said he doesn’t feel he’s in danger of missing any starts after suffering what’s being labeled as a mild groin strain.
The A’s lefty exited Sunday’s win over Detroit in the top of the seventh, after his groin first began bothering him around the fourth.
“It was just a little groin pull there,” Hill said after a 4-2 A’s victory. “There was a little buildup during the innings prior to the seventh there. It’s nothing significant, more day to day and look at it tomorrow. I think I’ll sleep on it, wake up and I’ll be fine.”
Asked if he thinks he could be in danger of missing a start, he replied: “I don’t feel that way.”
Manager Bob Melvin obviously is hoping the same, given Hill’s importance to a rotation that is 3-19 with a 7.97 ERA since April 23 in games started by anyone other than him. Hill wanted to remain in the game, but Melvin wasn’t about to risk letting him go any further. Hill (8-3) held the Tigers to two runs over 6 1/3 innings, struck out nine and was at 104 pitches when he departed.
Melvin was not as definitive about Hill’s status moving forward as the pitcher was, saying he wasn’t sure about Hill’s next start, which would come Saturday at Houston if Oakland’s current rotation holds.
“He was still pitching effectively, and it was bothering him enough to where I felt like I needed to take him out even if he didn’t want to come out, so hopefully that’s a good sign,” Melvin said.
Though catcher Stephen Vogt said Hill’s bread-and-butter curve wasn’t as dialed in as previous outings, the lefty won his fifth consecutive decision. He’s posted a 1.97 ERA over that span. His overall ERA sits at 2.25, second-lowest in the American League heading into Sunday night. Hill’s eight wins are second in the league behind Chris Sale’s nine, and he’s third with 74 strikeouts.
Vogt said it’s tough to judge with the naked eye when something is bothering Hill physically.
“He’s so quirky on the mound, you never know if he's kicking something or recoiling from a pitch,” Vogt said. “You could definitely see his grimace, but that could be because he missed his spot. He’s a pretty emotional guy, as you guys have seen. I didn’t dare go out and ask him because he might have kicked me back to the plate.”