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Notes: Setback for injured Hill

Notes: Setback for injured Hill

WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-hander Shawn Hill will go to the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio on Thursday and have a second opinion on his sore elbow. Dr. Mark Schickendantz will look at the elbow.

Hill had a bullpen session on Saturday in St. Louis, and said the next day that the elbow didn't feel right. Hill is still hoping that he can come back and pitch in the Major Leagues sometime in late June.

"It flared up during the bullpen session. The team just wanted to get a second opinion and make sure there is absolutely nothing going on," Hill said. "Depending on what they said, we'll take it from there. We are still going forward [thinking] that it's not anything serious."

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While he doesn't have any medical proof, Hill said he believes the elbow started to bother him after he decided to pitch with a sore left shoulder, which he hurt running the bases against the Marlins last month. Hill continued to pitch, but his mechanics were never the same and then the elbow started to hurt.

"Is that the reason? I don't know, but I knew how I felt when I was throwing," Hill said. "The mechanics felt out of whack. I felt I was pulling off the ball. So it kind of makes sense to me that the elbow took the stress as I started opening up."

Hill has a history of elbow problems. He had elbow reconstruction surgery after the 2004 season and missed all of the 2005 season. He returned to action the next season, but didn't pitch after June 28, 2006, because of elbow soreness.

Injury report: Luis Ayala, on the disabled list because of right elbow surgery, joined the Nationals on Wednesday, and had a bullpen session in front of the Major League staff. He threw 25 pitches and was able to throw his fastball and sinker without any problems.

Ayala's rehab assignment is expected to be at Class A Potomac soon. The only way Ayala will be back on a Major League roster is if he can pitch on back-to-back days.

Right-hander Jason Bergmann said he feels much better after fluid was taken out of his injured right elbow last Thursday. In fact, he played catch on Tuesday and threw the ball 25 times from 90 feet.

"It's progressing a lot better than it was before the drain. The draining was important for me. Once they drained it, it felt a lot better," Bergmann said.

There is no timetable as to when Bergmann will have a bullpen session or pitch in a Major League game.

Ryan Wagner, who announced on Tuesday that his shoulder was not getting any better, will get a second opinion by seeing Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., on June 4.

Getting healthier: Alcoholic beverages are not the only things that have been banned from the clubhouse at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium. Starting with the current homestand, the team got rid of junk food such as M&Ms, Milky Way bars, Twinkies and Skittles. In are fruits, walnuts, carrots and a salad bar. Fried chicken has also been banned from the premises. Instead, they will have rotisserie chicken.

According to general manager Jim Bowden, the idea came from catcher Brian Schneider and right-hander John Patterson, who felt it was time for the team to eat healthier. Bowden, trainer Lee Kuntz and clubhouse manager Mike Wallace agreed with the plan and implemented it on Tuesday.

"It's important how we eat and take care of our body. You don't want to walk into a clubhouse and have junk food," Schneider said. "You want to give the guys choices and options. If they want to eat healthy, we have given them that choice. They took a lot of stuff out."

The news comes a few weeks after management banned alcoholic beverages from RFK in light of the death of Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock.

New position: With Dmitri Young swinging a hot bat, manager Manny Acta decided to put the switch-hitting first baseman back in the cleanup spot. Young is 17-for-31 (.548) in his last 11 games.

Stat of the day: The Nationals hit .310 (80-for-258) during their recently completed nine-game road trip.

Did you know: The Nationals are tied with the Tigers with the most grand slams this season with four.

Coming up: The Nationals play the finale of a three-game series against the Dodgers on Thursday night. Washington left-hander Micah Bowie will face left-hander Mark Hendrickson at 7:05 p.m. ET.

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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