Bowden Asks Hill to Take More Time

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 11, 2007

PHOENIX, Aug. 10 -- On paper, the numbers from Shawn Hill's rehabilitation start for Class AAA Columbus on Thursday night looked just fine -- five innings, one run, no walks. But in person, officials from the Washington Nationals decided his breaking pitches weren't as sharp as they would have liked.

"We want him to work on his secondary stuff," General Manager Jim Bowden said.

Thus, a plan to bring Hill -- who has been on the disabled list since May 14 with left shoulder and right elbow problems -- back to start for the Nationals next Tuesday has been scrapped. Instead, Hill will get one more start for Columbus on Tuesday in Richmond, and if all goes well, he will start Aug. 19 against the New York Mets at RFK Stadium.

"I talked to him, and I explained our thinking," Bowden said. "We had a good talk. We're on the same page."

One other factor is that Hill needed just 54 pitches to get through his five innings, which is what he was scheduled to throw for Columbus. He then threw 20 more pitches in the bullpen to get to his pitch count.

"I told him I want to see those 20 pitches in the game," Bowden said.

Hill has reported no problems with his elbow, a relief to the organization. He was 3-3 with a 2.70 ERA in eight starts for the Nationals, occasionally dominating hitters with his sinker.

"It's been kind of frustrating for him knowing -- after the first few outings he had here -- how good he can be up here," Manager Manny Acta said, "and then going down."

The decision to keep Hill in the minors delays removing someone from the rotation for one more turn.

D. Young Sits Out Again

First baseman Dmitri Young sat out Friday's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks with left hamstring tightness, his second straight missed start. "It's improved," Young said, "but it's not to the point where I can go out there and not risk anything."

He could not say whether he would be ready to start Saturday's game.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company