Earlier this week word came out that the Washington Nationals’ first selection from this past June’s Amateur Draft, right-hander Lucas Giolito, would be visiting famed orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lewis Yocum to have his elbow examined. The speculation at the time was that the 18 year old would need to undergo Tommy John Surgery. According to Amanda Comak of The Washington Times, those initial predictions turned out to be correct and surgery has been scheduled for next Friday, August 31st.
Washington was well aware of this possibility when they selected Giolito with the 16th overall pick this past June after he missed his entire senior season with an injury to the elbow. Some have described it merely as a sprain while others have classified it as a partial tear. Either way, doctors at the time did not believe surgery was necessary and instead recommended that Giolito be placed on an extensive rehab program.
Upon signing with the Nationals in early July, he continued that rehab under the close supervision of the team’s medical staff at their Spring Training complex in Viera, Florida. Only after getting the go-ahead from organization pitching coordinator Spin Williams and rehab coordinator Steve Gober was he able to join one of the organization’s minor league affiliates and see actual game action. Giolito lasted just two innings before being pulled from action over concerns stemming from an extreme loss of velocity from the first inning to the second.
The Nationals organization is no stranger to the procedure. Both Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann have undergone it previously. As have relievers Ryan Mattheus and Sean Burnett. The team also saw another of their top pitching prospects, Sammy Solis, go under the knife this past March. Giolito will likely miss all of the 2013 season while recovering.