You know the bowling movie Kingpin where Woody Harrelson’s character (Roy Munson) has a hook in place of his right hand? Then Munson and an associate get caught hustling in a bowling match, and their counterpart says, “I want you to make his left hand (Munson’s associate) look just like his right hand (Munson’s hook).” Well, someone get to Washington Nationals manager Davey Martinez before he makes Wander Suero‘s right arm hurt like Luis Avilan‘s left arm.
All jokes aside, the arm injury suffered by Avilan is a blow to the Nationals and even more concerning for the soon to be 32 year-old veteran most likely heading for Tommy John surgery. This setback will have serious repercussions on his career moving forward.
The possibility of overuse may have led to a torn UCL for Washington Nationals pitcher Luis Avilan.
In camp as a non-roster invitee, Avilan made the team as the left handed specialist out of the bullpen. In the team’s first eleven games he has been summoned just four times, though the length of his last two appearances may have been what caused his injury.
Both games Avilan entered saw the Nationals facing a sizable deficit in the early innings of the game. Mop up duty more or less, though the Nats were needing Avilan to chew through hitters as their starting pitcher made an exit prematurely. Wasn’t Avilan on the team as a lefty specialist, not a long reliever? In his first appearance he struggled to get hitters out and each batter reached base, Avilan’s pitch count continued to rise. Two days later he was brought in to work multiple innings, again growing his pitch count to a number he’s rarely reached before.
Now, the Nationals face a daunting situation with reliever Wander Suero as well. Brought in for the eighth time this year, in just twelve total team games, Suero was only able to face one hitter. After walking Eduardo Escobar, Suero was removed after grabbing at his side. As the Nationals await the results of an MRI they wonder if they’ll be without one of their best relievers long term.
Through 6.1 innings this year Suero boasts a 1.42 ERA, with opposing batters hitting just .136 off of him.
Since first appearing in the league in 2018, Suero has been Davey Martinez’s most used and most trusted pitchers. In the World Series year of 2019, Wander was called upon 78 times in the regular season. Currently, with the Nationals starting pitchers struggling to go deep in games, the bullpen is being overworked drastically in the early going.
Right now, Martinez is wading in treacherous waters and should tread lightly with the health of his pitchers, especially Wander Suero.