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Presidential Debate Or Arizona Fall League Baseball...?

AFL Update...

(ed. note - "I'll update as we go along here, but as of now, 11:02 pm EST, the Peoria Saguaros, (with DC pitching prospect Cory VanAllen starting on the mound but already out), are trailing the Scottsdale Scorpions 2-1 in the fourth inning of each team's first Arizona Fall League game. After San Diego Padres' outfielder Chad Hoffman hit a two-out solo HR in the top of the first for a 1-0 Saguaros' lead, Scorpions' third baseman Chris Johnson, an Astros' prospect, doubled in one run and another crossed on an error by the Peoria catcher...")

Can Shawn Hill Stay On The Mound?

Shawn Hill's made just 37 Major League starts since the Montreal Expos drafted the 6'2'' right-hander out of Mississauga, Ontario in the 6th Round of the 2000 MLB draft, and Hill's (7-15) with a 4.95 ERA in the Majors since making his debut in 2004. In the last two seasons, Hill's appeared in 28 games with a (5-10) record, posting a 3.42 ERA in 16 starts and 97.1 IP in '07, but managed only 12 trips to the mound in '08, with a (1-5) record and a 5.83 ERA in 63.1 IP before pain in his right forearm forced him from the rotation and eventually led to the surgery Hill's now working hard to recover from...possibly in time for Spring Training according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson, who writes, in an article entitled, "Hill's recovery ahead of schedule":

"Nationals right-hander Shawn Hill is cautiously optimistic he will be ready for Spring Training. He said on Monday he has more range of motion in his right elbow than he did during the 2008 season..."

An AP story entitled, "Injury-prone Hill has MRI after complaining of tightness in forearm", from espn.go.com on March 1, 2008 set the tone for Hill's season, which lasted from April 19th to June 24th, adding another incomplete season to resume that is unfortunately riddled with injuries, surgeries and recovery periods, leading Nationals' Manager Manny Acta to comment, back in March, even before he knew what the '08 season held in store for Hill:

"'I feel bad for the kid,' Acta said. 'For the last five years he hasn't been able to pitch a full season in the big leagues or the minor leagues.'"

Hill will turn 28 in the first month of the '09 MLB season... Is there time for Hill to rehab and establish himself in a Nationals' rotation that figures to be comprised of a lot of young arms next season. MLB.com's Bill Ladson's projection for next year's starting rotation didn't include Hill, with Mr. Ladson in an article entitled, "Nationals see reason for optimism in '09", proposing a starting rotation consisting of some combination of Tim Redding, Collin Balester, Jason Bergmann, John Lannan, Shairon Martis, Jordan Zimmermann, and, Mr. Ladson writes, "...don't be surprised if the Nationals go out and get a veteran to teach the young pitchers how to win." 

That doesn't leave much room for Hill? I personally think Bergmann's chance to start for DC has passed as well, with all the young starting arms maturing and surfacing at the Major League-level at a rate of 1-2 per season at this point...What?, if anything, the two old Expos can add to the Nationals' success next season is debatable, but I wouldn't be surprised if neither of them were in the starting rotation come next Spring... 

AFL Update...

12:12 pm EST...The Saguaros are ahead 5-3 over the Scorpions in the sixth. Cory VanAllen's out after 2.0 IP, 3 hits, 2 runs allowed, 1 earned, 2 K's and a 4.50 ERA. Ian Desmond's 1 for 2 with a run scored and 1 RBI. Leonard Davis, in the DH-role, is 0 for 3 with a K and a run scored. NY Mets' prospect Daniel Murphy, who started the '07 season at 3rd base in the Mets' system and played left field for New York in '08, is at second for the Saguaros...?

Possible '09 Outfield Scenario #1...

The MiLB.com organizational "Season in Review" of the Washington Nationals' system recognizes outfielder Roger Bernadina as the MiLB.com Hitter of the Year, and DC fans saw what Bernadina was capable of defensively during his two stints with the team this season...Bernadina's definitely better defensively than Milledge...But is Bernadina just another Nook Logan-like lightning quick light-hitting defensive center? With the Nationals talking about moving Milledge to a corner spot, could it be Bernadina in center and Elijah Dukes and his impressive (though often inaccurate) arm in right in '09...which would free up Austin Kearns for a package in a deal for a first baseman? Willie Harris as a fourth outfielder? Justin Maxwell getting a look eventually? Can an outfield of Milledge, Bernadina and Dukes compete in the NL East? 

AFL Final Score?...

The Peoria Saguaros add 4 runs in the top of the ninth to take a 9-3 lead over the Scottsdale Scorpions. Ian Desmond ends the night 2 for 3 with a walk, a run and 1 RBI, but he gets picked off first after singling in the Saguaros ninth. Leonard Davis is 1 for 4 with a run scored. DC's right-handed reliever Adam Carr gets in a scoreless inning in the eighth, striking out the first batter he faces before a groundout and a fly ball end the frame with Carr having thrown just 13 pitches. Another Mets' prospect Eddie Kunz is on to end it...which Kunz does, 9-3 Saguaros win.