By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
01/22/10 11:16 AM EST
TORONTO — The Blue Jays used a low-risk move to add a little more depth to their pitching staff on Thursday, signing Shawn Hill to a Minor League contract that includes an invitation to attend Spring Training with the big league club.
Toronto attempted to sign the right-handed Hill last March, but the pitcher instead decided on a deal with San Diego. After making three starts for the Padres in April, Hill was sidelined with an arm injury and forced to undergo surgery in June to repair damage in his throwing elbow. San Diego released the injured pitcher in October.
It was the second Tommy John ligament-replacement operation of Hill’s injury-marred career. The Canadian-born Hill made his big-league debut with the Expos in 2004, but missed the entire ’05 campaign after undergoing his first Tommy John procedure. The operation often includes a recovery period of at least one year.
Hill has had arm complications in the years since that initial reconstructive elbow surgery. In September 2008, Hill had an operation to remove calcium deposits and bone spurs from the elbow. Hill also battled stiffness in his right forearm last spring.
The 28-year-old Hill — a native of Mississauga, Ontario, located just outside Toronto — was originally selected in the sixth round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft by the Expos. He has posted a 8-16 record with a 4.95 ERA over 40 career starts between seasons spent with Montreal, Washington and San Diego.