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Shawn Hill: Opener unlikely

Hung out at HSCS for a couple hours before heading over to Disney this afternoon, waiting to -- drumroll -- watch Shawn Hill play catch. Somebody's got to do it.

Hill took two sets of 25 tosses from 60 feet (why they eliminated the six inches, I don't know). Nice and easy, and he said afterward he felt OK.

"It was nice and easy," he said. "They told me not to air it out. I was kind of throwing with a little something on it, but not much. But it feels all right right now, and it actually felt better after I threw just kind of lobbing a few balls during BP. It was almost like it got loosened up.

"Until we crank it up, we won't really be able to tell, but as of today, I'd say it was a good day, a positive sign."

Hill, though, is realistic. The team is waiting to see how his arm reacts to determine a next step. We're less than three weeks from Opening Night. He believes it is unlikely he'll be ready in time.

"To be honest, I don't know that I'll be ready, even if I crank it up from today full-speed," Hill said. "I don't know that I would even be able to get there. I might be able to, but I'm not even looking at right now. It's still something that would be really cool and all that. It would be an honor. But at the same time, if I can get back and if I pitch the fifth, sixth seventh eighth game -- after the off day, slide in there -- and if I can make 30-some odd starts I'll be more than happy. I can live without that opener."

That would leave the Nationals turning to Plan B. I'll do some work on that later today.

Sitting at Disney's Wide World of Sports right now. Team bus is here. I'm headed to the clubhouse. First game without a DH today (Braves never seem to like to use one, and it's the home team's option in spring training). Here are your lineups.

Washington:
Felipe Lopez - 6
Bret Boone - 4
Ryan Zimmerman - 5
Nick Johnson - 3
Wily Mo Pena - 7
Elijah Dukes - 8
Jesus Flores - 2
Ryan Langerhans - 9
John Patterson - 1 (four innings, 65 pitches today)

Atlanta:
Kelly Johnson - 4
Yunel Escobar - 6
Chipper Jones - 5
Mark Teixeira - 3
Jeff Francoeur - 9
Matt Diaz - 7
Mark Kotsay - 8
Javy Lopez - 2
Tom Glavine - 1

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 11, 2008; 4:31 PM ET
 
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Next: Joel Hanrahan awesome, Zimmerman removed

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