When it comes to surgeries, Shawn Hill could probably write a medical book.
---Tommy John surgery to his right throwing elbow in 2004.
---Surgery to repair a separated left shoulder in 2007.
---Tommy John surgery again to his right elbow in 2009.
---Oh, yeah, he also had his elbow scoped in 2008 and 2009.
---Finally, he's hoping his most recent surgery in February will be his last.
Hill, a former major league starting pitcher, arrived in York on Thursday. The right-hander is set to see game action on Saturday against Bridgeport, and he'll likely be worked into the starting rotation sometime soon.
He says this is the healthiest he's felt since 2004, when he first reached the big leagues with the Montreal Expos.
The reason for his optimism is somewhat complicated, but Hill basically feels like he's been misdiagnosed for the past eight years. And the most recent surgery, in which he had a rib removed, may have finally fixed him.
Vascular surgery: While he had been feeling pain in his right elbow, the problem wasn't with the elbow after all. Rather, it was a matter of correcting a blood circulation issue.
"Essentially I wasn't getting the right circulation (to my arm), so the nerves (in my elbow) ended up getting damaged and not functioning properly," Hill said.
To repair the problem, the 31-year-old Hill underwent vascular surgery in February, this time to remove a rib under his right clavicle.
"It's a small rib. You would never even know it's there," Hill said. "So, they removed that, and the part of the muscle that goes through the area."
Hill had been dealing with the pain in his arm for years. He reached the big leagues for the sixth time in his career at the end of the 2010 season with the Toronto Blue Jays. He said he pretty much pitched through that entire season despite experiencing severe pain after games.
The following spring training, the then-Florida Marlins released Hill because the pain returned in his elbow.
"Last year after spring training it was basically up to me to find an answer," he said. "So, I had stem-cell treatment done to see if it would help. I don't know if it did or not."
Hill went on to pitch for Team Canada in the 2011 Pan-Am Games in October, all the while still looking around for an answer to fix his arm.
The Florida resident ended up talking to the team doctor of the Tampa Bay Rays, who suggested seeing a vascular surgeon in Dallas.
Effective: Given what he's been through, Hill has thought about walking away from the game.
But he's put up decent numbers in the majors, despite not feeling 100 percent. In 44 combined starts spanning from 2004 to 2010, Hill has a career 9-18 record and 4.47 ERA at the big-league level.
"It's just tough to say why I should be walking away from everything when I can be effective if I'm fine," he said.
Hill said he feels fine now. He just has to show he's still effective.
-- Reach John Walk at 505-5406 or jwalk@york dispatch.com or follow him on Twitter @York SportsGuy.