April 29, 2007

CAUTION--CURVY HILL:

Hill's big break (CAROL SLEZAK, 4/29/07, suntimes.com)

Rich Hill's curveball has been called lethal, unhittable, dominating, baffling, wicked and nasty, and that's just for starters. It's tough to find the perfect word for Hill's curve. How do you describe a pitch that breaks so sharply, it looks as though it's being yanked toward the ground by an invisible string? Magical?

''I don't think it's magic,'' the Cubs left-hander said with a laugh. ''I think probably the majority of it is God-given. I've been fortunate to be blessed with a good curveball. Sometimes I try to teach my curveball, and I don't know how to explain it. You can tell somebody how to do it, but unless you have the ability to do it, it just usually doesn't come out.''

Holding a baseball, the 6-5, 205-pound Hill demonstrated the grip as he tried to explain it.

''If the horseshoe part of the stitching is facing where it makes [the letter 'C'], you put your [middle] finger on the outside seam of the 'C,''' he said. ''Your thumb goes underneath, on the other seam. And you want to throw it almost like a chop action with your hand.''

And then, abracadabra, the ball will do its thing and frustrate the heck out of the batter. (Note to kids: Don't try this at home. Hill didn't throw his first curve until he was 17.)

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 29, 2007 8:19 AM
Comments

Hill's been absolutely mesmerizing this season. One of the few NL pitchers who might actually be good in the AL.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at April 29, 2007 10:42 AM

No Cubs/Cards tonight b/c of the death of the Cards reliever, so no national audience for Hill.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at April 29, 2007 11:12 AM
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