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Shawn Hill departs York to join Team Canada for Pan-Am Games

Shawn Hill Team Canada 2015

Shawn Hill pitching in exhibition action against Team USA on July 4 in Cary, NC.  Photo by Alexis Brudnicki. (Canadian Baseball Network)

The Revolution coaching staff knew it was a possibility from the moment they agreed with Shawn Hill on a contract for 2015, but the veteran right-hander has left the team, perhaps temporarily, to compete in the Pan-American Games for the Canadian Senior National Team. As of July 9 Hill is officially on the inactive list, as the Pan-Am Games last from July 10-26, with the baseball tournament from July 11-19.  The games are taking place in Toronto in the home Provence of Hill, a Mississauga, Ontario native.

Hill, who has pitched just four innings in each of his last three starts for York, the two most recent being on short rest, joined Team Canada on Saturday for their pre-tournament camp in Cary, North Carolina.  He started Canada’s first exhibition game against the United States (Team USA is comprised of Double-A and Triple-A players) and threw three and two-thirds innings, allowing four hits and striking out three.  Hill, who has 14 starts under his belt for the Revolution so far this season, may also work as a long reliever during the tournament.

A veteran of 44 Major League starts between 2006 and 2012 for Montreal/Washington, San Diego and Toronto, Hill has long been at the top of Canada’s rotation in international play, including the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and he was Canada’s number one starter in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.  Hill’s first stint with the Revolution in 2012 was also followed by a trip to Toronto, albeit under different circumstances.  After tossing a franchise-record 27.2 scoreless innings in five starts for the Revs, Hill was re-signed by the Blue Jays off York’s roster, who he had made four Major League starts for in 2010 (2.61 ERA) before missing all of 2011 with an injury.  His 2012 season ended with a hitless, three-inning relief appearance in Toronto on September 29, and when he was the winning pitcher against Andy Pettitte and the Yankees, he became the first former Rev to earn a win in a MLB game.

Hill was actually set to return to York prior to the 2014 season, but was re-signed for his third stint with the Jays just two days after signing with the Revs.  This was after he spent all of 2013 (26 starts) at Triple-A Toledo with the Detroit Tigers, and split time last season at Triple-A with three clubs; Buffalo (Blue Jays) before a mid-season trade to the White Sox landed him at Charlotte, before finishing out the season with the Tigers in Toledo again.

The Pan-Am Games, like the Olympics, are also every four years with 40 to 45 nations participating. In 2011 in Mexico, the Canadian Senior National Team won gold, a first for Canada’s top club in an international tournament.  Cuba had won the all 10 previous Pan-Am golds, and the feat earned the entire 2011 Canadian Pan-Am team, including Shawn Hill, a spot in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Mary’s, Ontario.

Right now you may be thinking, wow, the York Revolution communications staff sure does know a lot about Canadian Baseball!  Eh…not really.  (See what we did there??)  The bulk of the information here was provided to us by Alexis Brudnicki of the Toronto Blue Jays, who also covers Canadian players in the states and all things Canadian National Team year-round for the Canadian Baseball Network and Baseball America.  She also snapped the photo of Shawn Hill above.

-Paul Braverman

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