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Hill to have surgery on ailing elbow

Hill to have surgery on ailing elbow

WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-hander Shawn Hill will undergo surgery on his ailing right elbow after going to Pensacola, Fla., to see Dr. James Andrews on Friday.

Andrews found calcium buildup in the back of the elbow and suggested that arthroscopic surgery is required. However, Andrews didn't rule out the possibility of Hill needing extensive surgery if he found more than just calcium buildup during the operation.

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 procedure.

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Before Hill has the arthroscopic surgery, however, he is going to the University of Alabama-Birmingham on Wednesday to see Dr. Tom Hunt about his ailing forearm, which has bothered Hill the last two seasons.

In 2008, 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 forearm soreness. The pain proved to be too much, and he went on the disabled list in late June. Rest was recommended by the doctors, but that hasn't worked.

"It's a mystery. It's difficult to discern what exactly the problem is," Nationals orthopedist Benjamin Schaffer said. "In pitchers, the force across the elbow and forearm are enormous. When you have a reconstruction, there probably are stresses that influence the other muscles in a way that makes it difficult to exactly know what it is.

"It doesn't appear to be anything structural. I say that because Hill has been worked up extensively with multiple MRIs. If there were some obvious legions, it would have been addressed."

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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