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Hill on buildup to slow return

Hill on the mend

ARLINGTON -- Rich Hill returned to the fold on Monday, if only for a consultation. Baltimore's southpaw starter has spent the first week of the season in extended Spring Training due to a strained left elbow, and the Orioles hope to get a look at him in a side session Tuesday before they plot out the path of his returm.

"I would expect him to be here sometime during the game, but he'll throw a sideline with [pitching coach Rick Kranitz] tomorrow and then he'll return to extended Spring Training," said manager Dave Trembley. "He'll either come in during the game tonight or he'll get here late tonight, but he will throw a sideline tomorrow."

Hill, who was acquired from the Cubs in exchange for a player to be named later, was initially considered a favorite for one of Baltimore's three vacancies in the starting rotation. His elbow bothered him for most of the spring, though, and Hill has just recently progressed to the point where he can throw up to 60 pitches.

The left-hander participated in an intrasquad game late last week, and Trembley wants Kranitz to evaluate him up close before the Orioles make any further decisions. The hope is that Hill can move to a Minor League rehab stint within a couple of weeks and then perhaps rejoin the Orioles by late May or early June.

"The plan that Kranny has is he'll pitch two innings, a couple of days off," said Trembley. "We'll try to get him as many appearances as we possibly can before sending him out on a rehab assignment."

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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