The Washington National rolled the dice big time during the draft last season. They took Lucas Giolito with their first pick knowing fully that the teen would probably have to undergo Tommy John surgery. He did, but now Giolito is working his way back. Soon, the Nats will be able to judge how well the gamble paid off.
Giolito threw from 30 feet yesterday, a big step in the recovery process. This according to Giolito himself.
Even though it was thirty feet, feels so good to be throwing a baseball again!
— Lucas Giolito (@LGio27) February 6, 2013
Giolito underwent surgery on August 31st, so he still has a ways to go before he returns to the mound. Generally, recovery from Tommy John surgery takes at least a year. Recovery times have been coming down as medical knowledge and technology has improved, but a year still seems to be the average timeframe.
The Nationals had the 16th overall pick in the draft and used it to take Giolito knowing it could be a disaster. Giolito may very well have been the number one overall pick had he not hurt his elbow. Scouts everywhere loved the pitcher out of Harvard-Westlake high school. Giolito pitched two innings in the Gulf League last year before having to be shut down. He may not return this season in time to join his minor league team, but he will certainly get some work in somewhere.