FORT MYERS, Fla. — One of the most encouraging signs for Red Sox fans today was watching lefty specialist Rich Hill throw a bullpen session for the second time since his Tommy John surgery.
Hill blew out his elbow on June 1 last season and had Tommy John surgery on June 9. He had allowed no earned runs over nine games (and 8 innings) for the Red Sox, who seemingly had found their lefty specialist after a lengthy search.
"Everything is going according to schedule," Hill said. "There's a long way to go still. Right now, I'm throwing three-quarters sidearm. Prior to this I'd been throwing straight over the top. So we'll see as we progress what the team wants me to do."
Hill was superb throwing from down under, a delivery that was deadly on lefties. He said that he's still a month away from throwing a breaking pitch, but while the process has been long, it has been fruitful thus far.
Hill could be ready by June.
In other Sox news:
• Jon Lester has been working hard, even working on agility drills with some of the pitchers in camp. Lester declined a full interview per order of the Red Sox who want him speaking when pitchers and catchers officially report on Feb. 19.
While it appears Lester is showing leadership and setting an example by being in camp so early, he said that he prefers to show up early so he can work at his own pace for a while and then get into the more structured workload once everyone is in camp.
Lester looked to be in very good condition and said he's communicated often with new pitching coach Bob McClure as as well as Bobby Valentine.
• Veteran righty Aaron Cook also showed up for his first day of activity and worked out and also did some agility drills. Also in for the first time was outfielder Ryan Sweeney, who was acquired from the Oakland A's as part of the Andrew Bailey deal.
• Oil Can Boyd did not back down on his words that he used cocaine two-thirds of the time when he pitched in the majors for 10 years. "I tell the truth," Boyd said. "I did it and I'm not afraid to say it."
• Word is that Daisuke Matsuzaka, who was not at the complex today is also throwing well and on target for a mid-season return.