Canadian pitcher Shawn Hill looks to revive his baseball career after going through the nightmare of two Tommy John surgeries, and what better stage than doing it in his hometown.
Hill, who made his major-league debut in 2004 with the Montreal Expos (Washington Nationals) and had a short stint with the San Diego Padres in 2009, hopes the third time will be a charm in Toronto.
“It’s special,” he told CBCSports.ca. “Aside from being in Toronto, which is a whole separate issue, coming back from a second Tommy John, it’s been a rough two years battling injuries.
“I need to re-establish myself,” he said, “whether that’s here [in Toronto], or Idaho or Korea. It’ll be a nice story and all that, but I’ve got a lot of work to do.”
The Mississauga, Ont. native finished his rookie year with a record of 1-2 and ERA of 16.00 in three games.
However, the right-hander missed the entire 2005 season due to a torn ligament on his elbow, which led to the first replacement surgery.
The Canuck returned the following year, but the injuries came along and never allowed him to perform at his best. Hill pitched in 34 games between 2006 and 2008 with the Nationals.
“I pitched in ’08 but I was taking pain meds the day of my start,” he told the Montreal Gazette. “I was dosing up basically just to get through it. In retrospect now, I shouldn’t have done it. But at the time we were hoping to get through, hoping one day just to get over that hurdle. That was probably the low point.”
In 2009 the Canadian joined the Padres rotation, but lasted just three starts before having to undergo surgery on his elbow for the second time.
The 29-year-old player joins Scott Richmond as the only two Canadians in the Blue Jays roster and will probably be part of the starting rotation until the end of the season.
Hill (8-17) is looking to stay healthy and earn a regular spot in Toronto’s starting rotation. The right-hander is 0-2 with an 4.09 earned run average with the Jays this season.
In his debut with the Jays on Aug. 9, Hill gave up four runs in 5.1 innings against the Texas Rangers, losing 4-2.
His also dropped his most recent outing on Tuesday night against the Baltimore Orioles as Hill allowed three runs (two earned) with four strikeouts in 5.2 innings of work.
“It’ll be a nice story and all that stuff, I’m sure. But I’ve got a lot of work to do, regardless of where I’m going to be at.”