Sammy Solis Has Tommy John Surgery
VIERA, Fla. — At least Sammy Solis doesn't have to look far to find pitchers who have had Tommy John elbow surgery and returned to dominate.
The lefthanded Solis, 23, learned early in accelerated development camp in Viera that he would need the same reconstructive procedure performed on Nationals righthanders Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann. Solis likely will miss a full year of pitching before resuming his attempt to someday join those mainstays in the major leagues.
Los Angeles-based surgeon Lewis Yocum, who was slated to perform Solis' surgery, also operated on Strasburg and Zimmermann.
"We always thought, even after we drafted (Solis), he was a quick-to-the-big-leagues guy," general manager Mike Rizzo told reporters in Viera. "This will derail that a little bit. But we feel confident he should regain his pre-injury form and we feel that once he does, he'll be a definite positive factor for us."
Solis, a second-round pick out of San Diego in 2010, was at his best after moving up to high Class A Potomac last year. He went 6-2, 2.72 with 53 strikeouts in 56 innings after going 2-1, 4.02 with 40 strikeouts in 40 innings at low Class A Hagerstown. Solis then struck out 25 batters in 26 innings during the Arizona Fall League.
An injured quadriceps kept Solis shelved last season until May 30, but he was otherwise healthy until feeling discomfort in his elbow in December. The organization ran tests then but was hopeful he wouldn't need surgery. Solis was able to throw side sessions before reporting to spring training, but in camp he felt pain during a bullpen session. Further tests showed an apparent ligament tear.
• Anthony Rendon, the sixth pick in last year's draft, saw game action at shortstop early in major league camp. The former Rice third baseman also was working out at second base. He's expected to play third in the minors this season despite Ryan Zimmerman's contract extension through at least 2019. If Rendon is assigned to Potomac, he'll play on a field that has been rebuilt for the first time since 1984.
• Lefthander Matt Purke started the Nationals' spring training opener against Georgetown, and the former Texas Christian star allowed only one hit and no walks while striking out three over three scoreless innings to earn a 3-0 win. Purke signed a major league contract as a third-round pick in 2011, earning him an invitation to big league camp.