Healthy again, Rich Hill set to make his return to Red Sox

OAKLAND, Calif. — Rich Hill has been with the Red Sox for parts of three seasons, but has pitched in only 32 games.

The lefthanded reliever from Milton, Mass., was still recovering from shoulder surgery when he was signed in 2010. His 2011 season was cut short by a torn elbow ligament and subsequent Tommy John surgery.

Hill was pitching effectively this year until he strained a flexor tendon and landed on the disabled list in early June.

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He will be activated for Saturday night’s game against Oakland. Hill pitched in eight minor league games as part of his rehabilitation.

“Everything has been feeling good. I’ve been able to go out there and pitch with conviction and have the ball go the way I want and have it come out of my hand the way I want to,” he said Friday after rejoining the team. “I’m looking forward to pitching.”

Hill thought he was finally ready to resume his career after the shoulder and elbow injuries. The tendon strain was an unexpected obstacle.

“With all the work you put in in the offseason, and the work that goes into coming back and then having a setback like this, it is frustrating, no doubt about it,” Hill said. “You see how hard you work to come back and to have something happen, I guess it’s part of the game. You continue on and keep going out there and pitching with conviction.”

Hill has a 1.20 WHIP and has struck out 26 in 25 innings with the Red Sox. Once a starter with the Cubs, Hill is now a sidearming specialist. If he can stay healthy, Hill could have a long career in that role.

“That’s what I want to do,” he said. “I want to pitch for a long time. That would be great. The more you can keep yourself in shape or keep yourself competitive and work hard in the offseason and put in the time in the weight room and with your throwing program and be smart about it, you can maintain your body and hang around for a long time.”

Hill, who lives in South Boston, hopes to return to the Red Sox in 2013. In previous years, he has been agreeable to coming to spring training on a minor league contract, and that could be the case again.

“I love throwing out of the bullpen. I love the intensity,” he said. “Now I just need to stay healthy.”

Shuffled up

The Athletics adjusted their rotation for the series. Righthander A.J. Griffin will be activated off the disabled list and start Saturday, with lefthander Brett Anderson pushed back to Sunday.

Griffin, a 24-year-old rookie, is 3-0 with a 2.42 ERA in eight starts. He has been out since Aug. 5 with shoulder tendinitis. Griffin faced the Red Sox July 4 and allowed two runs on four hits over six innings.

The Sox will have Felix Doubront on the mound Saturday. It will be his second start since coming off the disabled list. Doubront went five innings against the Royals last Sunday, allowing four runs on six hits.

Doubront has thrown 127 innings this season. His career high is 129 in 2008 in Single A ball.

Bobby Valentine said the Red Sox were planning to use Doubront in the rotation for the remainder of the season. That would be approximately six more starts.

More can wait

The Red Sox will likely wait on other roster additions until after Triple A Pawtucket is finished with the International League playoffs . . . Lefthander Jon Lester was claimed off trade waivers by an unknown team, then pulled back by the Red Sox.