Hill, 27, has a history of elbow problems. He had elbow reconstruction in 2004 and it took him the entire 2005 season to recover from the surgery.
The Nationals were hoping that Hill would pitch in the Major Leagues by mid-September and become a reliever. Instead, Hill will be examined by Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla. The team said Hill started feeling pain a couple of days ago. Hill was recently in a throwing program and had several bullpen sessions.
For the season, Hill made 12 starts and had a 1-5 record with a 5.83 ERA. For most of the season, Hill had to deal with right forearm soreness. The pain proved to be too much, and he went on the DL in late June. Rest was recommended by the doctors. Now, he has to figure out what is wrong with his elbow.
"It's very disappointing," general manager Jim Bowden said. "What we have now is, he has some calcification that has built up in the elbow around the ligament area that may be causing the problem. It has been common for pitchers who have had Tommy John surgery, where calcification will build up. Most times, it will not affect the ligament or the elbow. Sometimes, it doesn't. Let's see what Dr. Andrews says.
"I feel bad for Shawn because no one has worked harder. No one is more disappointed than Shawn. ... The whole key is how to get him healthy. We are trying to do that, and he has been trying to do that. So we'll keep working at it."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.