Washington Nationals' Starter Shawn Hill Returns To Mound Against Marlins Monday.

Shawn Hill Returns To Mound Against Marlins, Monday...

May 11th 2007: Shawn Hill is on the mound against the Florida Marlins in RFK Stadium, and he's got a no-hitter through five, and though he's walked two, he's well-nigh untouchable, so when he doesn't come back out for the sixth, you know there's a problem...

The former Montreal Expos' 6th Round pick in the 2000 Draft hasn't made 20 starts in a season since 2004. Hill debuted with the Expos on June 29th of '04 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, (Don't ask), and made 3 starts in the majors, after having started 17 games for Double-A Harrisburg where he went (5-7) with a 3.39 ERA in 87.2 IP, in which he allowed 33 runs, 4 HR's and 20 walks while striking out 53. The next season, Hill would have Tommy John surgery which would cost the right-hander the entire '05 campaign...Hill made 17 starts in 2006 as he rehabbed from the surgery, but was shut down in June when problems recurred...

...After leaving the May 11th '07 game against the Marlins, Hill told the press the bad news, as recounted by AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich in a Yahoo! Sports Game Recap from the day:

"Shawn HIll, Washington's most effective starter this season, said he's '99 percent sure' he'll go on the disabled list with a sore right elbow that forced him out of the game after five no-hit innings."

...Hill did eventually return to the mound in 2007, but before a late September start, it was announced that the pitcher would once again go under the knife, to, as Washington Post writer Barry Svrluga wrote in an article entitled, "Hill To Miss Final Start, Have Surgery On Right Elbow", "...resolve a nerve problem in his right elbow." In 2008, Hill made 12 starts in which he was (1-5) with a 5.83 ERA between April 19 and June 24 before once again being placed on the DL with what was described as forearm pain.

This time around, Hill didn't even get through Spring Training before Washington Post writer Chico Harlan announced in a March 5th article entitled, "Uh Oh. Shawn Hill. Dr. Andrews", (which continued the haiku-like title-tradition of his predecessor, Mr. Svrluga) that Hill now complained of "forearm discomfort," the recurrence of which in Mr. Harlan's assessment, "threatens to derail his career..." The titular Dr. James Andrews, however, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson's article entitled, "Hill has right forearm inflammation", had looked at Hill's arm and, "...determined that Hill has no structural damage to his right elbow or forearm."

Fast-forward to this past Friday, the 13th, and MLB.com's Bill Ladson is reporting, in an article entitled, "Hill tosses pain-free bullpen session", that Shawn Hill threw 35 pain-free pitches, and if he felt no ill-effects the next day, as Mr. Ladson wrote:

"Nationals pitching coach Randy St. Claire said Hill is tentatively scheduled to pitch one inning against the Marlins in Jupiter, Florida, on Monday..."

Luckily for Hill...the newest National, Julian Tavarez kept the press busy yesterday with his surprise arrival at Space Coast, (and his questionable explanation for choosing to pitch in DC)...but today it's going to be all about Hill, as the fate of some young starters, (who are developing a following), are riding on the 27-year-old sinker-baller's reconstructed right arm...

Game 16 of Spring Training gets underway at 1:05 pm EST against the Marlins, in Florida's Spring home, Roger Dean Stadium. Shawn Hill vs Anibal Sanchez...

Nationals You Won't See...

Add Justin Maxwell and Josh Towers to the list of the players cut from the Nationals' roster. (ed. note - "Or whatever euphemism they're using these days that's kinder than 'cut'...'reassigned' that's the word I was looking for...")...Maxwell and Towers join Preston Larrison, Bobby Brownlie, Chris Marrero, Matt Whitney, J.D. Martin, catcher Javier Herrera, Destin Hood, Ross Detwiler and Mike O'Connor...who were cut last week, and word is there will be more players sent down before the buses leave Space Coast for Jupiter...

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