LOS ANGELES — After taking a 91-mph fastball from Padres lefty Clayton Richard to the throat in the fourth during the Dodgers’ 4-3 loss to the Padres on Friday, Rich Hill stayed in the game and finished six innings, but the 37-year-old lefty was taken to the hospital for precautionary tests following the series opener at Dodger Stadium.
While Hill was attempting to bunt, Richard missed the zone and tagged Hill in his throat, sending him down to the ground in pain. Dodgers trainers rushed out, but Hill popped up quickly, cracking a few jokes to the medical staff and flashing a thumbs up to Richard while jogging to first base.
“Very scary,” said Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes. “He bounced up pretty quick, though, and he was making some jokes out there. It was good to see he was OK.”
Hill gutted out two more innings, holding the Padres scoreless, but did it with a baseball sized bruise on his throat, and after the adrenaline wore off, the pain started to settle in. Manager Dave Roberts said Hill’s X-rays were negative, and he should be OK.
“Initially, I didn’t know if it got him on the wrist,” Roberts said. “And then I see him holding his throat and so obviously, such a sensitive area. I think, from the initial thoughts and talking the medical staff, we dodged a bullet.”
Hill finished with nine strikeouts in six innings, giving up two runs on five hits for a no-decision. The veteran had never been plunked by a pitch before this season, but then-Padres starter Trevor Cahill changed that when he hit Hill on April 5 for the first time in his career. Friday’s plunking was No. 2.
Joshua Thornton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.