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Top 10 Nationals Prospect May Need Tommy John Surgery

The Washington Nationals will likely have another major pitching prospect undergo Tommy John surgery.  This time it’s the team’s No. 6 prospect on Baseball America’s Top 10 list, LHP Sammy Solis.  CSNWashington.com’s Mark Zuckerman had this story first.

Solis was shut down over the winter after having discomfort in his left elbow, limiting his time in the developmental Arizona Fall League.  He resumed work in Viera this spring, and reported discomfort again.  He’ll be reporting to see Dr. Lewis Yocum in California today, according to Zuckerman.  Yocum completed successful Tommy John surgery on both Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann in the last three seasons.

This is a big setback for the Nationals second-round pick in the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft, who posted impressive numbers in the Low-A Hagerstown and High-A Potomac in 2011.  In 17 starts between the two leagues, he posted a 3.26 ERA, 1.272 WHIP, and a 4.04 SO/BB ratio in 96 2/3 innings. He gave up fewer than one home run per nine innings.  

Recovery from Tommy John surgery takes anywhere from 12-18 months, so the Nationals can expect to be without Solis until at least next spring, which will further delay the progress he made in his first full minor league season in 2011.  If the Nationals had completed the surgery in November when the problems first arose, they may have had Solis ready to start the 2013 season.  Instead, the organization decided to wait to see if rest fixed the discomfort, losing four months of offseason rehab time.  Hopefully Solis has a speedy recovery from the surgery, if Dr. Yocum deems it necessary, and he returns next spring to prepare to get back on track.

About Joe Drugan

Managing editor of The Nats Blog and co-host of the Nats Talk On The Go podcast.

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