Padres reliever Tim Hill underwent surgery today to address a ligament injury in his left ring finger, tweets Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune. He won’t throw for six to eight weeks but is expected to be ready for Spring Training.
Hill, 34 in February, has spent the last four seasons as a situational option out of the San Diego bullpen. A sidearming lefty, he doesn’t throw hard but works from a low enough arm angle to usually keep the ball on the ground. Hill’s grounder percentage has been a bit north of 60% for three years running, while his career mark is just below that threshold. That resulted in consecutive sub-4.00 ERA showings from 2021-22, but his results this season haven’t been as impressive.
Over 44 1/3 innings, Hill posted a 5.48 ERA. He struck out fewer than 13% of batters faced for the second straight year. While Hill kept his walks and grounders in his customary range, he struggled when opponents were able to elevate the ball. Right-handed hitters posted a .378/.431/.602 batting line in 110 plate appearances. Righties have frequently given him trouble, which isn’t uncommon for low-slot lefties, but this year’s results were easily a career worst.
Hill has generally fared well against same-handed batters. From 2020-22, he kept lefties to a .212/.299/.303 line in 262 trips to the plate. Opponents found more success this season, putting up a .275/.352/.400 mark over 92 plate appearances.
The Padres and Hill agreed on a $1.85MM salary to avoid arbitration last winter. He’d be due a modest raise on that figure if San Diego wanted to keep him around for his final season of eligibility. Given his diminished results, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Padres opt against tendering him a contract.