Both Hill and Bergmann, who have missed a lot of time this season because of injuries, have pitched 70 and 75 innings, respectively, entering Tuesday's action. By logging more innings in winter ball, it would help their arms get stronger and possibly allow them to pitch close to 200 innings in 2008.
"Even if they went to the Arizona Fall League and threw 35 to 40 innings, that would be about 140 innings for the year. And then you could have them go up to 180 innings next year and feel comfortable with it," St Claire said. "If you take them from 100 to 200 innings, that's a huge jump, especially if you haven't done it."
St. Claire used John Patterson as an example of a person who benefited from winter ball. Patterson pitched only 98 1/3 innings for the Expos in 2004 because of a groin injury, but he pitched 30 more innings for Manny Acta in the Dominican Winter League. In 2005, Patterson ended up having his best season, pitching 198 1/3 innings and posting an ERA of 3.13.
"I would not want them to stay the entire winter ball season, because that would mean you are pitching year round and that gets a little tiring," St Claire said.
It may be tough for Hill to play winter ball for one reason: he may need surgery on his left shoulder, which he hurt running the bases in April. Hill said he has to make a decision by the end of the season if he will undergo surgery.
"Until we get to the end of the season, I will figure out what's going on. We have to re-evaluate my left shoulder," Hill said. "If I have surgery on my left shoulder, I have to get it done real soon so I don't have to miss any time [in 2008]. ... We have to come to a consensus on what to do. If I don't get the surgery done, maybe I could pitch winter ball to get innings."
Injury report: Outfielder Wily Mo Pena, who suffered a left foot injury on Monday against the Dodgers, said he is feeling better, but it appeared that he might not play until Friday against the Giants. Pena instead came in as a pinch-hitter in the top of the ninth inning on Tuesday and struck out to end the game. He said the foot was OK during the at-bat because he didn't have to run.
Pena didn't rule out playing on Wednesday, but he is going to test the foot by doing running drills before the game.
The top of Pena's left foot is swollen, and Pena was seen with an ice wrap on the foot before Tuesday's game.
Second baseman Ronnie Belliard left Tuesday's game after 7 1/2 innings after complaining of dizzy spells. He said he started feeling dizzy after running out a triple in the fourth inning. Belliard is trying to get over a cold that he has had for several weeks.
On the radio: Bonneville International Corporation announced on Tuesday that it will replace Washington Post Radio on 1500 AM, 107.7 FM and 820 AM with a personality-driven station starting Sept. 20.
The Nationals are currently heard on the Bonneville stations and, according to a baseball source, the two parties are in "deep discussions" on trying to have the Nationals on the stations next season. In fact, according to the source, Nationals senior vice president and chief marketing officer Tom Ward is expected to meet with the Bonneville big wigs on Friday to discuss a possible deal.
To be determined: Acta said that right-handers Tim Redding and Joel Hanrahan will pitch on Friday and Saturday, respectively, against he Giants, but there is no guarantee that left-hander Mike Bacsik will pitch on Sunday. The skipper indicated someone from the Minor Leagues might pitch that day.
Stat of the day: Entering Tuesday's action, opponents are hitting .252 against Nationals relievers this year.
Did you know? Despite having a .143 batting average, infielder D'Angelo Jimenez has a .324 on-base percentage. He had reached base via a hit or walk in 16 of his last 36 plate appearances.
Coming up: The Nationals play the finale of a three-game series against the Dodgers on Wednesday at 3:10 p.m. ET. Hill will face Los Angeles right-hander Brad Penny.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.