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June 20, 2011 - Image 9

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2011-06-20

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Monday, June 20, 2011
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

9

Q&A: Boston's Rich Hill

By DANIEL WASSERMAN
Daily Sports Writer
Entering the 2011 MLB season,
the Boston Red Sox were a favorite
pick to vie for another World Series
berth.
But while Red Sox Nation was
restless for the hyped season to
begin, a longtime Boston fan and
former Michigan pitcher, Rich Hill,
was stuck in Pawtucket, R.I. with
the Red Sox's Triple-A affiliate -
the Pawtucket Red Sox.
Hill grew up dreaming of play-
ing in Fenway Park; his high school
is just nine miles away from the
storied stadium. So while Boston
was off to a sluggish start, Hill's
numbers were impressive. He was
shortly rewarded with a call-up to
the bigleagues.
The Michigan Daily recently
spoke with Hill about his experi-
ences at Michigan and his dream
fulfillment to pitch with the Red
Sox.
Unfortunately, since the inter-
view, he injured his elbow and will
miss the remainder of the season
after undergoing Tommy John
elbow surgery.
The Michigan Daily: As a Bos-
ton kid, what factored in your deci-
sion to come to Michigan?
Rich Hill: The opportunity to
attend the University of Michigan
and play baseball there and obvi-
ously the academic-athletic com-
bination you get there - I don't
think you find that at too many
universities. That's not to dog other
universities; it's just a very unique
situation at Michigan.
TMD: After your sophomore
year, you were drafted by the Ana-
heim Angels. Why did you pass
up that opportunity and decide to
return to Michigan?
RH: To get a year closer to my
degree and also to come back and
play for a Big Ten title. I wanted to
come back and play with a lot of the
guys that I came in with and the
friends that I had over the couple
years. It was that opportunity to
play with them again one last time
and that was pretty special.
TMD: After you left Michigan,
you told the Daily that finishing
school and getting a degree was
important to you. Are you still plan-
ning to graduate?
RH: Yeah, I've been working on
that as of late. The last couple of
years, I've been trying to figure out
when I can do this, but it's been very
difficult with the baseball season

going into late October, when the
first semester is at least a good way
through. (That makes it) difficult
to work through the last year of my
degree. It's been tough, but with a
lot of courses being offered online
now and a lot of universities around
Boston, I could take some classes
in the Boston area and have them
transfer over to the University of
Michigan.
TMD: What were your favorite
parts of being at Michigan and in
Ann Arbor, away from the baseball
field?
RH: When I look back on it, just
the campus itself and going to the
football games and hockey games.
Obviously, those were a , blast.
Wherever you go, you carry Uni-
versity of Michigan with you as
part of your identity. My wife and
I (a graduate of Michigan's Nursing
School) went on a trip to the Gala-
pagos Island and there was a doctor
who was on the trip who's a doctor
at Mott Children's Hospital. We did
some work with Mott (when I was
there). It's just a small world with
over 450,000 alumni.
TMD: For most of your life -- at
Michigan and with the Cubs - you
were a starting pitcher, but now in
Boston, you've found success as a
reliever. Would you like to become
a starter again, or are you happy in
the bullpen?
RH: I enjoy coming out of the
bullpen. It's been something that
I've had to make some adjustments
and find your routine that you stick
with and that's been the biggest
thing - just getting into a good rou-
tine coming out of the bullpen and
sticking with it. I think that's some-
thing that's my niche.
TMD: Growing up in Boston,
you had to live with the Curse of the
Bambino and all the Red Sox's dis-
appointments. This year, Boston is
an odds-on favorite to win a World
Series. Obviously, the Red Sox have
won a few recent titles, but what
would it mean to win a World Series
for your hometown team?
RH: It'd be great. Just to see how
the teams from 2004 and 2007 were
embraced in Boston - and obvi-
ously the fans in Boston are very
studious and they understand the
game and the ups and downs, they
live and die with the team - you're
representing an entire city. In the
end, if it comes to fulfillment with
a World Series Championship, that
would be - for me, especially, being
from the area - something that I'd
never forget.

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