Wednesday, May 23, 2001

Secret reclamation project: Ken Hill

By Chris Haft
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        CHICAGO - It came as a surprise to everybody traveling with the Reds that 12-year veteran pitcher Ken Hill had been signed May 4.

        Players expressed wonder as they read in the Reds' minor-league notes, which were distributed in the clubhouse, that Hill was scheduled to start Tuesday night for Triple-A Louisville. Gullett said he was neither told nor consulted about Hill.

        General manager Jim Bowden surmised that Hill's signing wasn't immediately announced because he wasn't officially added to the RiverBats' roster until recently. Hill began working out in extended spring training at the Reds' Sarasota, Fla., complex after he signed.

        Hill, 35, built a 117-109 career record with St. Louis, Montreal, Cleveland, Texas, Anaheim, the Chicago White Sox and Tampa Bay. Hampered by rib, groin, abdominal and, most significantly, elbow injuries in recent years, he began this season in Tampa Bay's bullpen but was released April 19 after posting an 0-1 record with a 12.72 ERA. In 7 1/3 innings spanning four appearances, Hill allowed 10 hits — including four homers — and 10 earned runs while walking five and striking out two.

        Citing the possibility Hill could be used as trade bait if he regains the effectiveness he showed in spring training, Bowden emphasized that the right-hander “certainly is not going to stand in the way of the development of our young pitchers.” Bowden said the organization's need to have Chris Reitsma, Jim Brower and Brian Reith in Cincinnati because of injuries has depleted the Triple-A pitching staff, prompting Hill's signing.


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