PAWTUCKET -- Dont expect Rich Hill to revel in the difficulties Dennys Reyes is having with the Red Sox.
Dennys is a great left-handed pitcher, Hill said Thursday night before the start of the Pawtucket Red Soxs season-opening game against Rochester. Its . . . still early in the year. Theyve only played six games.
"I understand the microscope in Boston is really small, as expected. However, hes a guy thats done it over and over for 13 years. And I learned a lot from him in spring training. He was great to me in spring training. I became friends with him. And even last year we were together in camp with the Cardinals, but I didnt get to know him as well until this year. Hes been doing it for 13 years. Hell be fine.
The only left-hander in the Sox pen, Reyes has struggled since the start of the season. He's pitched 1 23 innings in four games with a 16.20 ERA.
Although they are both lefties, essentially competing for the same spot in spring training, Hill takes no joy in Reyes' struggles. A Milton, Mass. native, he knows whats expected here.
Its not easy to do, Hill said. To play this game and play it at the highest level, in Boston, New York, Chicago, L.A., the biggest markets, is difficult. Some other places, people might look past that and say, Oh, well, were not expected to do anything here this year in a smaller market. But since its such a big market, and everythings magnified, expectations are so high.
"So, yeah, you do feel for a guy that goes out there and struggles . . . Youve been in that position and struggled so you know exactly how that feels.
You want everybody to play to the best of their potential because when that happens, the competition's greater and thats what makes it a lot more fun. You want guys to go out there and be at their best when youre pitching against those hitters because you can say I beat them at their best, not on a day when they werent at their best. But the days that youre not, you've got to find a way to get through it and win.
When the Red Sox sent him down, on March 25, they gave him very simple instructions.
Just pitch, Hill said. Thats really essentially all you can do. Pitch with conviction and really let things happen. Things that are out of your control you cant control. You can only control the pitch that youre throwing at that time. Thats really all I think about.
That's what Hill did Thursday night, picking up the victory in the PawSox' 2-1 Opening Night win with 2 13 innings of scoreless relief.
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen