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Shawn Hill: Friday or Saturday?

Okay, then, moving on from attendance talk ...

(Just kidding. Keep it going if you're interested.)

As we discussed Sunday night and in Monday's paper, Shawn Hill had a six-inning start for Class AAA Columbus at Charlotte on Sunday. He gave up six runs, five of them earned, though he cruised through the first three innings without allowing a base runner.

So what's next? We might find out later today. At this point, Hill doesn't know yet.

Hill, who is in New York and will meet the team at Shea, says he feels "pretty good." But with Jason Bergmann optioned to Columbus, the Nationals currently have just four starters on the active roster. Against the Mets, they'll throw three lefties -- Odalis Perez, Matt Chico and John Lannan. Tim Redding could start on Friday night in Florida; it's the fifth day after his Sunday start against the Braves. Hill, in theory, could also start Friday, given that he last pitched Sunday.

The big question: Saturday. It's the Nationals' fifth game in a row, so they'll need another starter. My gut: If Hill is deemed healthy -- meaning, at this point, that he has no sharp pain in his right forearm (and he hasn't recently) -- then he'll pitch against the Marlins at Dolphin Stadium.

That, then, would be a return to the beginning of Hill's problems. If you recall, Hill was on third last year at Dolphin Stadium when a pitch got away from the Marlins' catcher, Hill broke for home, the ball bounced back to the catcher, and he dove back into third base, jamming his left shoulder. Later, in May, he jammed the same shoulder while fielding a flip from Dmitri Young while covering first base in San Diego. He feels the left shoulder injury altered his delivery and put strain on his right elbow/arm. The club's not sure that's the case, but whatever -- he definitely had problems after that.

So if you see Hill around, don't be afraid to remind him: Slide feet-first. (Or, actually, feel free to strike out.)

By Barry Svrluga  |  April 15, 2008; 1:39 PM ET
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