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While the imminent arrival of slugging first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to Boston is the big news of the today, itâ€™s not the only tidbit of info regarding the ball club.
Reliever Rich Hill, who along with fellow pitcher Chad Paronto were at McCoy Stadium Saturday for the PawSoxâ€™ Kids Christmas party, told Blackstone Valley Sports that he will be returning to the Red Sox organization for 2011.
â€śWe agreed to a deal about five weeks ago and Iâ€™m looking forward to (returning),â€ť said Hill, a native of Milton, Mass.
Hill signed a minor-league deal with the Red Sox in late June, pitching the rest of the summer with the PawSox. The 30-year-old appeared in 19 games (6 starts), compiling 3-1 record with a 3.74 ERA. The Red Sox brought Hill up in mid September, throwing four scoreless innings spanning six appearances.
Hill, a lefthander, started off his pro career in the starting rotation before elbow and shoulder problems resulted in a move to the bullpen. He still possesses the ability to make a start on occasion, but itâ€™s clear the Red Sox view Hill as someone who can contribute as a reliever.
Hillâ€™s current deal is a â€śsplitâ€ť one, meaning it features language normally included in major and minor-league pacts. He figures to be one of several arms fighting for a bullpen job come spring training.
â€śI had good talks with (Red Sox GM) Theo (Epstein) about the opportunity thatâ€™s there for next season. I think itâ€™s very good,â€ť said Hill, who has been working out at Fenway Park several times a week.
As for Paronto, the veteran is still awaiting word on where he will pitch in 2011. Last season with Pawtucket made a team-best 54 appearances, going 3-5 with a 4.22 ERA.
â€śObviously this is where I want to come back to,â€ť said Paronto. â€śItâ€™s a great situation and I loved it here. Plus I feel thereâ€™s an opportunity in the bullpen.â€ť
Hill and Paronto were asked about Gonzalez, someone both pitchers have faced. For more about this story, read Mondayâ€™s Times.