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03/17/08 6:15 PM ET

Hill happy with bullpen session

Right-hander remains likely to miss Nats' Opening Night

VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals received great news regarding right-hander Shawn Hill on Monday when he had a bullpen session and threw 35 pitches without any pain in his right forearm.

Hill was able to throw all of his pitches, including his curveball.

"I feel pretty good so far," Hill said. "I still have some tightness, but no pain at all. I'm pretty encouraged about it."

Pitching coach Randy St. Claire was amazed at how well Hill pitched on the mound. In fact, St. Claire said he wished he could have Hill on the mound against the Tigers on Tuesday, but he realizes Hill is not close to pitching in games.

"Without a doubt, I have to [dial myself back in]," St. Claire said. "I watched him throw and I wish I had his stuff when I was playing. He was very good, he really was. He threw everything."

Hill will take Tuesday off, and St. Claire is hoping Hill can pitch batting practice the next day.

Even though there was good news, manager Manny Acta still doesn't think Hill will be ready for Opening Day, because the latter has yet to pitching in a spring game.

"I don't think Shawn is going to be ready to leave with us when we go north. It's out of the question to me right now," Acta said.

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