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Hill to Miss Final Start, Have Surgery on Right Elbow

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 25, 2007

NEW YORK, Sept. 24 -- Washington Nationals right-hander Shawn Hill, bothered by arm problems during a promising but injury-plagued season, will miss his final start Wednesday and will have surgery to resolve a nerve problem in his right elbow, the club said Monday. General Manager Jim Bowden said he "absolutely" expects Hill to be ready for spring training.

Hill, who went 4-5 with a 3.42 ERA in a season limited to 16 starts, had an MRI exam Monday in Washington, and team orthopedist Ben Shaffer recommended the surgery after examining the results.

"His stuff went down a lot his last start," Bowden said in a telephone interview. That night, Hill matched his season high by allowing six runs in a season-low 4 2/3 innings against Philadelphia. Bowden said he went to the clubhouse during the game and talked to Hill after he had been removed.

Hill, 26, had been bothered by soreness in his right forearm -- which was diagnosed as tendinitis -- dating from spring training. He said a cortisone shot had "calmed it down," but the fact that it lingered had some Nationals officials concerned.

"Shawn had some recurring pain, the same kind he had in spring training," Bowden said. "He had been shut down and started up again [when he went on the disabled list in May], and obviously with it recurring, it showed there was a problem."

Bowden said the problem with Hill's right elbow was not related to his balky left shoulder, which he originally injured running the bases in April in Florida. Hill has said he felt the two problems were intertwined. He will have surgery on the shoulder two weeks after the elbow surgery, which has not yet been scheduled.

Interleague Foes in '08

A source with knowledge of the Nationals' 2008 schedule said the team's interleague opponents are scheduled to be the Los Angeles Angels, Texas and Baltimore at home and Seattle, Minnesota and Baltimore on the road.

The Angels and Rangers -- the former Washington Senators -- will be making their first appearance in the District since baseball returned in 2005. . . .

The Nationals are considering skipping the final start of right-hander Joel Hanrahan -- and his 6.02 ERA. With Thursday's day off, Tim Redding could pitch Friday, with Matt Chico and Jason Bergmann finishing out the season in Philadelphia.

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