Hill scratched from Thursday's game
Nats right-hander feels forearm discomfort in bullpen session
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Nationals right-hander Shawn Hill was scratched from Thursday's start against the Tigers because of right forearm discomfort.
Hill, who pitched one inning Friday against the Astros, started to feel pain Sunday when he threw a bullpen session, but he didn't inform the team until Tuesday. Hill wanted to pitch against the Tigers, but the Nationals were against it. Hill is now scheduled to fly to Pensacola, Fla., to see Dr. James Andrews on Friday.
"Shawn was willing to throw, but we decided to send him over to see Dr. Andrews, who will give us an indication on what to do from now on," manager Manny Acta said. "The good thing about it is it's early in camp. We still have four weeks to go. If it's not serious, Shawn will be ready to go for us."
Health problems are nothing new for Hill, who has had right elbow reconstruction and forearm surgery. The injuries have limited him to only 37 games during his career.
Hill had arthroscopic surgery on his elbow in September. Some small spurs in the posterior elbow were removed and Andrews, who performed the procedure, didn't find any further damage.
"Obviously, I feel bad for the kid, because he has gone through it for a while now. Hopefully, he will come back with good news from Dr. Andrews," Acta said.
Unlike the previous two years, the Nationals are prepared to move on without Hill. They feel they have enough starting pitching to fill the void. Pitchers such as a Gustavo Chacin, Collin Balester, Shairon Martis and Jordan Zimmermann will compete for the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation.
"We have prepared ourselves for something like [Shawn's injury]," Acta said. "We didn't do anything revolving around Shawn. We were thinking that if he was healthy, it would be a bonus for us."
Chacin started in place of Hill in Thursday's game, and it was an outing he would like to forget. The left-hander gave up three runs in 2 2/3 innings in a 10-2 loss to Detroit. He didn't pitch badly in the first inning, but had a tough time throwing strikes.
Chacin was able to get two quick outs, but he then walked the next three batters faced. Chacin then gave up a two-run single to Gerald Laird.
"I lost my strike zone and work[ed] behind in the count. I have to finish the job there," Chacin said about the third inning. "I was trying to be too perfect."
Acta felt that Chacin ran out of gas in the third inning.
"He couldn't command any of his pitches," Acta said. "It didn't look like he felt comfortable enough to get those pitches in the strike zone. This is the first time he has been stretched out past two innings. It could have been fatigue."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.