To scroll through photos of Rich Hill pitching is to see a man who appears to be in extreme pain while performing normal functions of his job. This could just be a Pitchface scenario—every pitcher’s got one, and while Hill looks anguished in the act of pitching, he’s not quite in R.A. Dickey territory. But while Rich Hill’s Pitchface might just be the way it looks when he physically exerts himself in any situation, it’s easy to see it as a reaction to the chronic blisters that have afflicted him since his unexpected career resurgence in 2016.
Hill’s had some shit luck so far this year, spending much of it on the Dodgers’ disabled list. He was hit with another tough setback over the weekend when, after throwing just two pitches on Saturday, he was pulled for aggravating a blister on his left middle finger. He’ll be sidelined for at least four weeks.
For a guy who’s been yanked after seven perfect innings due to blister concerns and has missed large chunks of the season as a result of those pesky things, Hill has tried everything to heal those fuckers:
Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon has also considered The Pee Treatment for a similar injury this year, courting teammates to piss on a middle-finger cut, but Hill’s openness to apple cider vinegar and laser therapy showcase even more of a willingness to experiment. Hill has also come up with the far more convenient alternative—and it’s a big ask of the MLB—of placing tape on his finger while pitching. He’s been throwing some with it this week, and insists that it doesn’t provide him an unfair advantage or violate league rules about foreign substances. He tells the Los Angeles Times:
“It’s not aiding, at all,” Hill said. “Believe me. You take away the feel of the baseball. But you’re still able to obviously throw.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, among others, doesn’t see Hill’s petition working out. It probably won’t, given the likelihood of pitchers who don’t have blisters finding some way to scuff up and doctor the ball to their advantage if they were allowed to wear tape. Still, if you’re Rich Hill—or one of the other pitchers suffering from this goofy and irritating issue—it’s at least worth a shot. When the alternative is piss, it can’t hurt to ask.