Hill penciled in to start on Saturday

Hill penciled in to start on Saturday

WASHINGTON -- After pitching six innings for Triple-A Columbus on Sunday, Nationals right-hander Shawn Hill is tentatively scheduled to pitch against the Marlins on Saturday at Dolphin Stadium.

General manager Jim Bowden wouldn't say when a final decision would be made for the right-hander. Hill hasn't pitched in a Major League game this season because of tightness in his right forearm.

"When you make a move regarding someone on the disabled list, something could happen between now and then," Bowden said. "No point in making a final decision. It's Tuesday."

Hill gave up six runs (five earned) on nine hits against Charlotte on Sunday. Hill cruised the first three innings, but he then gave up a combined six runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Hill said there would have been a lot less damage in the fourth inning if he had been able to field a ball hit by Brad Eldred, but Hill slipped and fell to help prolong the inning for Charlotte.

"I felt pretty good to get my pitches in, so that was the big thing," Hill said. "I slipped and fell. If I made the play, I would have given up one run. It was a couple of little things, but nothing to be overly concerned about."

Meanwhile, outfielder Elijah Dukes continues to recover from a right hamstring strain. Dukes did some running at Shea Stadium on Tuesday. Since he is recovering more quickly than expected, the Nationals are sending Dukes to Florida on Tuesday night to be in warm weather. The Nationals don't want to take the chance of Dukes practicing in the cold weather at Shea and then hurting the hamstring again.

"The last thing I want is for him running out there and he pulls [the hamstring in the cold]," Bowden said.

Dukes will meet the Nationals this weekend when they face the Marlins in Miami.

Closer Chad Cordero insists that his right shoulder is OK, and he has no concerns that he was throwing in the low- to mid-80s on Sunday against the Braves. He said he needs to play catch on a daily basis to build up strength.

Cordero has spent most of the season on the DL because of right shoulder tendinitis.

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