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Shawn Hill and Mike MacDougal find homes…for now

Two former Nationals who, at one point, were considered one of the top pitchers on the staff, found a home on a new ball club this weekend.

Shawn Hill, 29, signed a minor league contract in the division with the Florida Marlins. According to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, Hill has received a Spring Training invite and will earn more than $600K if he makes the club.

Hopes were high for Hill in 2007 when at the age of 26 he posted a 4-5 record with a 3.42 ERA in just 16 starts for Washington. However after consistent shoulder problems the Nationals parted ways with the one-time ace of the club in March of 2009. Hill made three starts for the Padres that season, going 1-1 with a 5.25 ERA.

In 2010 he picked up with the Toronto Blue Jays. After going through a rehab stint that saw him pitch at every professional level, Hill made four starts for Toronto, posting a 1-2 record with a 2.61 ERA.

Hill will now try to crack a relatively strong Marlins rotation, which currently features Josh Johnson, Javier Vazquez, Ricky Nolasco, Chris Volstad, and Anibal Sanchez. Hill has never pitched out of the bullpen, although at this stage in the 29-year-olds career, that certainly is an option. 

Mike MacDougal signed a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training with the Los AngelesDodgers yesterday.

MacDougal, 33, was an All-Star in 2003 with the Kansas City Royals, but found a career resurgence with the Nationals in 2009. In 52 games for Washington he posted a 3.60 ERA with 20 saves. However, his incredible inaccuracy and inconsistency caused the Nats to surprisingly cut the closer after the 2009 season.

In 2010 he signed with the St. Louis Cardinals and in 17 games posted a 7.23 ERA and walked 12 batters in just 18 innings pitched.  

Both MacDougal and Hill will be remembered in Washington as players who many fans at one point put their hopes in, but ultimately found themselves parting ways with. Both offered promise but in the end a lack of health and a lack of control cut their careers in Washington short.  

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