Lefty curveballer Rich Hill of the Chicago Cubs has struggled to start 2008, and was recently sent to AAA. The Cubs are hoping that history repeats itself, as Hill was demoted during the 2006 season and proceeded to tear up the minors for 2 months before excelling down the stretch for the Cubs.
Hill started 4 games for the Cubs in May of 2006, going 0-4 with a 9.31 ERA over 19 1/3 innings. At triple-A Iowa, Hill started 15 games and posted 135 strikeouts in 100 innings, with an ERA of 1.80. Recalled to Chicago in late July, Hill started 12 games, going 6-3 with a 2.92 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 80 innings. That works.
Will the second time back to Iowa produce the same results? I'll be watching to find out.
On a side note, here's a curious story by Chicago Daily Herald writer Bruce Miles. The headline reads: "Emotional Hill Demoted to Iowa".
A short while after comparing video images of his pitching delivery from this year to last, Hill was summoned to a closed-door meeting with Rothschild and manager Lou Piniella.Okay, so my curiosity is up in a schadenfreude sort of way. I'm wondering what kind of a train wreck comes next. Was Hill angry? Did he yell? Did he trash the locker room? Did he slice Lou Piniella with a broken beer bottle?
It was there he got the news he was being optioned to Class AAA Iowa, with righty Sean Gallagher getting called up from Iowa.It was a bitter pill for Hill to swallow, and he had a tough time containing his emotions.
Dear God, did he cry?
"You take that attitude down there," Hill said. "It's something that's not easy to do, obviously. You go down there, and you work on things that need to be worked on. Take it as, not as a demotion, but you go down there to get better, not to stay down there."
That's the only quote from Hill that we get. If Hill indeed "had a tough time containing his emotions," Miles offers no evidence to back it up.
"You go down there to get better, not to stay there."
That's a perfectly rational reaction. It's almost surprisingly rational given the circumstances. But I guess "Surprisingly Rational Hill Accepts Demotion With Grace" is not exactly a grabber.