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News » Orioles' Hill scratched with elbow stiffness

Orioles' Hill scratched with elbow stiffness

Orioles' Hill scratched with elbow stiffness
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - Baltimore Orioles left-hander Rich Hill was scratched from Sunday's spring training start with elbow stiffness, an annoying setback for a pitcher eager to restart his stalled major league career.

Hill was scheduled to face the Washington Nationals in Viera, Fla., but was left at Baltimore's camp after developing stiffness in his left elbow Saturday. The injury is not perceived as serious, but the Orioles - and Hill - aren't taking chances.

"If it was during the season, I'd want to get out there and pitch," Hill said. "I'm not saying these games don't mean anything, but we want to take precautions. One day here could possibly save months, if something happened. You always want to be cautious, but at the same time, I'm itching to get out there and pitch."

Drafted in the fourth round of the 2002 amateur draft by the Chicago Cubs, Hill went 0-2 with Chicago in 2005, 6-7 the following season and 11-8 in 2007. But last year he made only five starts before being optioned to the minors, and Chicago traded him to Baltimore during the offseason.

The Orioles hope Hill will benefit from a change of scenery and earn a spot on the team's starting rotation. Hill has every intention of making that happen, but decided it would be prudent to make the staff aware of his injury rather than attempt to pitch through it.

Missing one start won't ruin that plan, and Hill could be back on the mound in an intrasquad game Tuesday.

"I said, 'There's probably not going to be any problem. There's nothing wrong, but there's probably a little stiffness in there,"' Hill said. "It needs to work itself out and to give it an extra day is more beneficial now than to try to push anything. But I definitely feel like I could've pitched (Sunday)."

The Orioles had no intention of letting that happen.

"We're not going to take a chance with that. He wants to pitch, and I think it's such a long camp it doesn't really matter at this point," pitching coach Rick Kranitz said. "I don't want to take a chance because he has been coming along. He's taken some nice strides forward."

Hill joins a list of sore-armed pitchers that includes right-hander Brad Hennessey and left-hander John Parrish. Hennessey was removed from the Orioles' spring training opener with a stiff elbow and has not pitched since. Parrish has not yet pitched because of an ailing shoulder.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: March 1, 2009

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