Nationals left-hander Luis Avilan suffered a tear in his left UCL, and the veteran reliever is now going to “weigh his options” in deciding how to address the injury, manager Davey Martinez told MLB.com’s Jessica Camerato and other reporters.
“He’s got options whether to sit out and see if it heals or, when you talk about a UCL, it usually has Tommy John surgery,” Martinez said. “I feel awful, as we always do when somebody gets hurt. But we wish him well and wish him a quick recovery, whichever way he decides to go.”
The injury occurred on Thursday, when Avilan tossed two shutout innings in Washington’s 11-6 loss to the Diamondbacks. It was seemingly a solid bounce-back outing after a brutal inning of work (six earned runs allowed) against the Cardinals two days earlier, though it now might result in a significant setback to Avilan’s career.
Avilan signed a minor league contract with the Nats in December, and locked in a $950K salary after he made the team’s Opening Day roster. After posting solid numbers over his first seven MLB seasons, Avilan struggled to a 5.06 ERA over 32 innings with the Mets in 2019 and then a shoulder problem limited him to 8 1/3 innings with the Yankees in 2020. The Nationals are the seventh different team of Avilan’s ten-year career in the bigs.
The Nats placed Avilan on the 10-day injured list yesterday, and even if Avilan opts against TJ surgery, he’ll still need quite a bit of recovery time (and likely a shift to the 60-day IL) before returning to the mound. In the worst-case event of a Tommy John procedure, Avilan faces a layoff of 13 to 15 months.
With Avilan sidelined, closer Brad Hand and Sam Clay are the only left-handers in the Nationals’ bullpen. Seth Romero and Ben Braymer are also on the 40-man roster, though Braymer could be seen more as rotation depth.