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Hill's right elbow is hurting

Hill's right elbow is hurting

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BALTIMORE -- A day after losing his first game of the season, Nationals right-hander Shawn Hill had a cortisone shot and fluid taken out of his right elbow on Saturday.

The injury is not considered serious, but there is a possibility he may not make his next start, against the Phillies at Nationals Park on Wednesday. For now, Hill will not have an MRI.

The good news is the pain in not in the area where he had elbow reconstruction in 2004. The pain is located behind the elbow.

Hill pitched with the pain against the Orioles on Friday. He went five innings and gave up five runs -- four earned -- on eight hits.

"Before Friday, it was bothering me," Hill said. "I wanted to get through Friday and the game on Wednesday against Philly. And then with the off-day, I figured if I could get the shot after that, it would give me an extra day, but the pain was bothering me too much yesterday."

This is not the only injury Hill is dealing with. He still is bothered by a sore right forearm, which is the reason he hasn't been able to command his breaking pitches this season. When the breaking pitches are not working, the hitters are waiting for the fastball.

It's difficult to fix the problem, because Hill can't pitch bullpen sessions between starts because of the forearm problems. There are days when he is in serious pain and others when he thinks the problem is just about gone.

Hill still doesn't know why the forearm continues to hurt. Hill and the team are hoping that scar tissue is the reason. Hill has not seen a doctor about his forearm since Spring Training.

Asked if he thought he would pitch the rest of the season, Hill said, "I think so. I hope I turn the corner at some point here. Maybe the shot is enough to get the elbow over the hump. The forearm pain is something I can deal with. I can pitch with that. The elbow, it's almost like a triceps tendon, so it's nothing major. Nothing is damaged. It's just stress from taking the workload. If that calms down, I can get through the forearm."

If Hill is unable to pitch on Wednesday, it is more than likely that left-hander Matt Chico will make the start. Chico came out of the bullpen on Friday and didn't give up a run in 2 1/3 innings. He said he was more relaxed on the mound.

"I felt good. I was trying to go out there and throw strikes," Chico said. "I'm starting to feel better about relaxing and going out there and throwing."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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