By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Washington Nationals right-hander Shawn Hill is pitching through a persistent ache in his right forearm, and the condition has fundamentally altered the way Hill prepares himself between starts.
Hill, who began the season on the disabled list, has not thrown a bullpen session this season. "We're kind of babying it right now," he said.
Rather than throwing off a mound, which the other Nationals starters do three days before their next outing, Hill has been throwing on flat ground. Most days, his arm is so sore that he does not play "long toss," which is extended catch from 120 or even 150 feet, but instead throws from about 90 feet.
Hill continues to say that the sharpest pain he experienced during spring training has all but subsided, but now he has pain in other areas of the forearm.
"I can deal with it," Hill said. "I'm just kind of waiting on it. By babying it, hopefully it will get better by itself. I'm hoping by mid-May I'll be over this hump. But I'm just kind of throwing that out there. I don't know."
Hill, who will make his third start of the year tonight against the Atlanta Braves, is looking to pitch more than five innings for the first time this season.Larkin Helping Team China
Barry Larkin, the former Cincinnati Reds star and an assistant to General Manager Jim Bowden, is in town for a couple of days and will work with several Nationals hitters on their approach.
But Larkin might be most excited about his role working with the Chinese national team, which is preparing for the Olympics in August. Larkin spent three weeks in Beijing working with former major leaguer Jim Lefebvre, who is managing the team, and he hopes to be invited back for the Olympics.
"Baseball is a second-tier sport in China," Larkin said. "The one thing about the players is they are very disciplined people. They love drills."
Larkin said a couple of players, including outfielder Feng Fei, have the athletic ability to play professionally in the United States. "They just need experience," Larkin said.