While the imminent arrival of slugging first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to Boston is the big news of the today, it’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 PawSox’ Kids Christmas party, told Blackstone Valley Sports that he will be returning to the Red Sox organization for 2011.
“We agreed to a deal about five weeks ago and I’m looking forward to (returning),” 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 it’s clear the Red Sox view Hill as someone who can contribute as a reliever.
Hill’s current deal is a “split” 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.
“I had good talks with (Red Sox GM) Theo (Epstein) about the opportunity that’s there for next season. I think it’s very good,” 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.
“Obviously this is where I want to come back to,” said Paronto. “It’s a great situation and I loved it here. Plus I feel there’s an opportunity in the bullpen.”
Hill and Paronto were asked about Gonzalez, someone both pitchers have faced. For more about this story, read Monday’s Times.