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Hill first player to arbitration in 2009

Hill first player to arbitration in 2009

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Nationals pitcher Shawn Hill became the first player to go to an arbitration hearing this year when he went in front of a three-person panel in Phoenix on Friday asking for $775,000 rather than the team's $500,000 offer, according to The Associated Press, which reports that a decision is expected this weekend.

While earning $402,000, Hill went 1-5 with a 5.83 ERA in 12 starts in 2008. The four-year veteran also spent time on the disabled list with a sore right elbow and had arthroscopic surgery performed by Dr. James Andrews on Sept. 5.

The 27-year-old right-hander has had a slew of injuries, missing the entire 2005 season after Tommy John ligament replacement surgery and being limited in '06 and '07 because of elbow and shoulder problems.

Arbitration hearings will run until Feb. 20, and the Nationals have three other players still on tap: outfielder Josh Willingham, left-hander Scott Olsen -- both acquired from the Marlins this offseason -- and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman, considered Washington's franchise player, asked for $3.9 million, and the Nats countered with $2.75 million.

Teams and their arbitration-eligible players can negotiate contracts until their respective hearing dates. The arbitrators for Hill's case are Elizabeth Neumeier, James Oldham and Steven Wolf, according to the AP.

Since making his Major League debut in 2004, Hill -- drafted in the sixth round by the Expos/Nationals franchise in 2000 -- is 7-15 with a 4.93 ERA in 37 starts.

Alden Gonzalez is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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