Fans of the Washington Nationals have started to become accustomed to hearing the phrase “Tommy John Surgery” in association with the team’s young pitchers. Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg have both underwent the procedure, endured a year long rehabilitation process, and successfully returned to the mound at Nationals Park. Sammy Solisappears to be the next Washington pitcher to need the surgery, according to an announcement made by the team early Tuesday afternoon.
We first heard some rumblings in December that there may be reason for concern regarding Solis’ left arm. The 23 year old experienced discomfort during his stint in the Arizona Fall League which largely kept him out of game action for much of the fall. He was slated to visit with Dr. Lewis Yocum – the same doctor who performed the procedure for both Zimmermann and Strasburg – before the holidays but that meeting was eventually pushed back once Solis developed strep throat. By the time he recovered in early January, the team believed he’d be 100% again come Spring Training.
Solis passed his physical and had thrown multiple bullpen sessions prior to feeling discomfort once again after throwing last Friday. Team doctors evaluated him before recommending Tommy John surgery. Dr. Yocum reportedly has confirmed the diagnosis and is scheduled to perform the procedure next Tuesday. Solis should be healthy by Spring Training 2013 so long as there are no setbacks in his recovery.
While he isn’t quite as highly touted a prospect as Zimmermann or Strasburg were at the time of their procedures – both had reached the Major Leagues before undergoing the surgery – the situation isn’t quite the same for Solis. The 2010 Draft pick reached High-A last season and stood a viable chance at spending much of the 2012 season with Double-A Harrisburg. He’s certainly still a ways away from reaching the Majors, but is often considered one of the organization’s better pitching prospects alongside Matt Purke and Alex Meyer. Solis was #8 on our first ever prospect list for good reason and while there is still hope he’ll be a big piece of the Nationals’ plans for years to come, this injury is certainly a setback in his development and will push his arrival in Washington back at least one more year.