Lefty Rich Hill placed on DL

BOSTON -- Red Sox reliever Rich Hill has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with with a strained flexor muscle and could be out for a month, manager Bobby Valentine said Monday.

That actually could be considered good news, as the Red Sox had Hill examined by Dr. James Andrews on Monday fearing the injury might be a ligament problem.

Hill, who had Tommy John surgery last year, began feeling the discomfort in his elbow about three weeks ago but the tightness then subsided.

It was evident during his outing on Friday that something was wrong when he was having difficulty throwing his curveball.

Also, the Red Sox called up reliever Mark Melancon from Triple-A Pawtucket on Sunday.

Melancon began the season with the Red Sox but was optioned to Pawtucket on April 18. Since then he has recorded 11 saves with the PawSox, posting an 0.83 ERA and allowing only two runs in 21 2/3 innings. The right-hander also recorded 27 strikeouts in 21 outings.

"Melancon has been lights-out at Triple-A," Valentine said. "Every report was excellent. About the third day he got there, he regained command of his fastball. His curveball became a much more functional pitch and he started throwing his changeup, also. He threw to both sides of the plate and maintained his velocity. He would have been back sooner if our bullpen wasn't doing as well as it has been."

After earning a spot on the Red Sox's opening day roster, Melancon imploded during four outings for Boston, posting an 0-2 record while allowing 11 earned runs in only two innings of work, including five home runs.

Valentine said that he's comfortable putting Melancon in any situation.

"As good as he's throwing, I'd like to put him in situations that will help us win a game," Valentine said.

Melancon understood why he was sent to the minors, and also why he had to stay there because Boston's bullpen has pitched so well. He was able to regain his form with the PawSox and he's happy with the way he's throwing the ball now.

"I'm a lot more aggressive," he said. "I'm throwing strikes."

Melancon added: "After five or six times (being sent to the minors in my career) you realize it doesn't help to go down there and get pissed off. ... It's tough to go down there after you'd had a couple of bad outings, but you've got to make the best of it and that's what I was trying to do."