Post-season Q&A with Rich Hill

Left-hander Rich Hill shares his thoughts with Inside The Ivy on a season that saw him go from Double-A to the major league club all within the span of two months.

Inside The Ivy: What are some of the things you're working on now that the season is over?

Rich Hill: I've been taking a few weeks off. Next week, I'll start getting back into running and then really enjoy as much time as I can with family and friends. Probably around next week, I'll get back into my off-season program. I should be getting my training manual from the strength and coordinating guys pretty soon.

Inside The Ivy: How disappointed were you not to get in any more innings in Chicago after September call-up's?

Rich Hill: It wasn't easy for me. It was obviously tough not getting in there, and I can't say I was happy being there and not pitching a whole lot. More consistent outings and just getting out there in general would have been nice. I'd rather be playing, but that's just the nature of going out there. Everyone feels that way.

Inside The Ivy: What does the off-season hold in store for you? Do you have plans for Winter Ball?

Rich Hill: No, no plans for that. They don't want me playing anything like that. They just want me to stay healthy and come back next year as I did last Spring Training. I'll definitely work on my changeup and on having the same command that I had this year in the minors. I just need to bring that with me into the big leagues now.

Inside The Ivy: What else are you hoping to improve on in regards to your changeup?

Rich Hill: Just consistency with it. It got really good during my side work in Chicago. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to throw it in a game. That'll be the biggest thing. I don't always feel comfortable with it. I feel I have a good enough grip that goes along with it, plus good enough arm speed and deception to make it work.

Inside The Ivy: What about your curveball? It was brutal at times this season.

Rich Hill: Yeah, if you look back on all my years in the farm system, I've led the league a few times in strikeouts per nine innings, so it's always been a big side of my game. With the fastball 90-92 mph mixed right in there, it's all about executing your pitches. If you can locate it any time you want, you're going to be successful.

Inside The Ivy: Now that you've gotten a taste of the big leagues, how much does it benefit you and how much disappointment will there be if you start off next year in Triple-A?

Rich Hill: Yeah, I'd be a little disappointed. That's obviously where I want to be, but it wouldn't be a huge disappointment. You just have to fight back in order to get where you want to go. The experience in Chicago is huge going into next year for Spring Training. Just having that edge and knowing what to expect, there's no gray area about what goes on or what's expected. Being there for a couple of months and knowing what does go on is more of a comfort zone. There's no pressure to go up there and perform anymore. Not that there ever was, but especially going into next spring, you have to take it one pitch at a time and not put a lot of pressure on yourself. You won't be able to perform if you do. When I got called up from Double-A and they put me in bullpen warming up for the first time on a big league mound, it was all new to me. When I got into the game, though, it felt like any other game.

Inside The Ivy: What are your thoughts on Rick Kranitz possibly moving up to the big league club as pitching coach if Larry Rothschild joins the Detroit staff?

Rich Hill: If "Kranny" got the job, it'd be great. I think it'd be a good spot for him. Larry Rothschild's doing a great job up there for now. Whoever, or whatever they decide, Coach Kranitz is a great pitching coach and so is Larry. I think as far as if Kranny did go up, it would work out for everybody. But whatever happens, happens.

Inside The Ivy: What all was different in the way Rothschild went about things than Kranitz?

Rich Hill: Everyone is both similar and different in all sorts of ways. Both really focus on the mental side as a big part of their approaches as coaches -- just because when you're at Triple-A and the big league club, it's not about stuff or how hard you can throw it; it's all mental. They both really stress execution and being able to throw the correct pitches in the correct counts. They want you to favor your percentages toward each particular pitch.

Inside The Ivy: Being back home in Boston right now, are you cheering on the Sox?

Rich Hill: Oh yeah. It's been disappointing to watch them go down lately. I think I'll be in attendance [today] at Fenway to see them and cheer them on.


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