Nats' top pick Giolito has ailing right elbow

Nats' top pick Giolito has ailing right elbow

WASHINGTON -- Right-hander Lucas Giolito, the Nationals' first-round pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, has elbow soreness, according to general manager Mike Rizzo, and is being re-evaluated by Dr. Lewis Yocum in California.

Giolito's fastball has been clocked as high as 100 mph, and he has a power curveball, but he endured right elbow problems earlier this year, spraining his ulnar collateral ligament. Giolito would have been a higher pick if not for the injury. Giolito had been pitching for the Gulf Coast League Nationals.

"It's the same injury as he had prior to the Draft," Rizzo said. "We knew when we drafted him that this was an issue. We were comfortable with the fact that the worst-case scenario is Tommy John surgery, and we'll see if that's where we're headed. Going into this with our eyes wide open, we felt that this was a scenario and a possibility.

"If he needs surgery, we're going to give him the surgery. There's no sense in delaying it. We're in the process of getting a second opinion [about whether] he needs the surgery."

During the Rizzo era, the Nationals have had their share of pitchers -- Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann to name two -- who have had Tommy John surgery and have come back to become successful pitchers.

"[The Nationals] are not worried. If [Giolito] had shoulder problems, then I would worry," said a person with knowledge of the situation.