Nats recall Hill as reliever, designate Dobbs

Nats recall Hill as reliever, designate Dobbs

MILWAUKEE -- In need of a pitcher to support a bullpen overworked during Tuesday night's 4-2, 16-inning win over the Brewers, the Nationals on Wednesday selected the contract of right-hander Taylor Hill from Triple-A Syracuse and designated first baseman/third baseman Greg Dobbs for assignment.

Hill is a starter by trade, but he will be coming out of the bullpen for the next couple of days. That trend started during Wednesday's 9-2 loss, in which the righty made his Major League debut and allowed two runs on five hits in 3 1/3 innings.

"I was OK; I wasn't as [crisp] as I would like to be," Hill said. "I wasn't able to locate my fastball as well as I hoped. That happens. You have to figure out how to get through it."

But Hill said it was a day he will never forget. His parents flew in from Nashville to see their son perform on the mound. They will also travel to Chicago to watch the Nats' upcoming four-game series against the Cubs.

"It was awesome; just pitching in front of that crowd, just being able to do that was something special," Hill said. "I will never forget it."

With Hill in the bullpen, the Nationals will be one player short on the bench, but that doesn't seem to matter to manager Matt Williams.

"Taylor has been pitching really well as a starter; he gives us that length that we need," Williams said. "We don't know how long we are going to need length, either. You never want to lose someone like Dobber. That was kind of the only option we have. He is a pro -- he is a good teammate, professional player. He also knows how to work, he also knows how to prepare. Unfortunately, that's the move we have to make."

Hill was 9-2 with a 1.92 ERA in 15 games for Syracuse this season, tossing three complete games, including one shutout, and picking up one save. He posted a 7.22 strikeout-to-walk ratio (65-to-8), the second-highest mark of his career.

A sixth-round selection of the Nationals in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, Hill is currently leading the International League in innings pitched (93 2/3) and is tied for first in ERA (1.92) and second in WHIP (0.99).

"I'm not going to go and blow guys away; it's not who I am," Hill said. I just want to be able to throw strikes, give my team a chance to win. It sounds weird, but my goal is to see the least amount of time … on the mound. The [less] time I'm out there, the more time we are going to be on offense. It also translate to us not giving up runs, too, especially me."

Hill was named the International League Pitcher of the Week on May 26 after tossing 11 scoreless innings in a week that included four relief innings and a save against Columbus, then seven innings in a start against Pawtucket.

Hill was watching a movie at 2 a.m. ET on Wednesday when he received the call that he was going to the big leagues. He said he doesn't care where he plays.

"I was obviously pumped, surprised -- I kind of went from there," Hill said. "I'm just trying to get everything together. I had to go to the field and pack. It doesn't matter at this point."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.