VIERA, Fla. (AP) -Washington Nationals manager Manny Acta missed part of his team's 5-3 exhibition loss to the Detroit Tigers on Monday so he could head over to the minor league complex and watch right-hander Shawn Hill pitch to Class-A players from the Dodgers' system.
Hill is on the 15-day disabled list, trying to overcome pain in his pitching arm, and his two innings of work Monday represented his first game action of any sort since September.
``The pain wasn't as intense as I thought it would be,'' Hill said after throwing 39 pitches, 23 for strikes, and reaching 91 mph.
He retired the first four batters he faced, then went double, walk, fielder's choice, single, before striking out his final hitter.
nue to throw.''
He's going to get on a five-day schedule, trying to build up his innings. The plan, as of now, is for Hill to be able to pitch for the Nationals on April 13.
``We're lining up for that day,'' Hill said.
But given Hill's history of injuries - he had ligament replacement surgery in 2004, and surgery on a nerve in his right forearm and left shoulder in 2007 - Acta is being cautious about predicting when the pitcher will be ready.
``His track record speaks for itself,'' the manager said.
Because of two days off in the Nationals' early schedule, the team will head north with a four-man rotation. The only starting spot Acta has announced is Odalis Perez for opening day, March 30 against Atlanta. Matt Chico, Jason Bergmann and Tim Redding are expected to round out the group, although Redding left his start Sunday after hurting his back.
Redding and Acta both said the right-hander felt better Monday.
``As of now,'' Acta said, ``he's going to make his next start.''
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