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07/31/07 12:19 AM ET

Hill looks good in rehab outing

Acta on hand as righty tosses three scoreless frames

NEW YORK -- Nationals right-hander Shawn Hill had his first rehab start for Class A Potomac on Monday night, and he pitched three scoreless innings and gave up only three hits against Wilmington. He struck out two batters and walked none in the game.

Nationals manager Manny Acta was at the game, and he liked what he saw from Hill.

"He looked free and easy. [His] velocity was there -- 89-93 [miles per hour]. Very encouraging performance," Acta said via e-mail.

Hill is scheduled to have four rehab starts but is hoping that he will have only two and be back in the big leagues by Aug. 9.

Trade deadline talk: An opposing executive believes that the Nationals will go through like they did with outfielder Alfonso Soriano before the trade deadline. They will not be offered top prospects for relievers Chad Cordero or Jon Rauch. There is a feeling that Washington is asking for too much for those two pitchers.

It's no secret that the Nationals are looking for offense in the Major and Minor Leagues.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.