"He should be ready for the middle of spring training, worst-case scenario." General Manager Mike Rizzo, on Jesus Flores prospects after labrum surgery, Sept. 15, 2009.


THE RESULT: Cliff Lee of the Philadelphia Philles threw a complete-game, five-hit 5-0 shut out against the Washington Nationals Tuesday night, then the Nats found out yet more bad news in a season chock full of it.

Jesus Flores, recovering from a stress fracture in his right shoulder, was diagnosed with a SLAP tear of his right (throwing) shoulder, will have surgery, and miss three-to-six months.

General manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement, and orthopedist James Andrews, who on Tuesday examined Flores in Birmingham, Ala., will perform the procedure on Wednesday.

"[Flores] had an MRI on August 12. And it didn't show a tear. He was examined by Andrews at that time and our doctor, Wiemi Douoghui. He was examined three different times as he was on the disabled list and had two sets of MRIs that showed no tear. With the persistence of the tendinitis in his shoulder we felt it was prudent to send him back [for more testing]."

Rizzo stated that even with Flores' new injury and the long rehab, he didn't think the team needed to go out and sign a catcher in the off-season. "We're going to look at all the options," Rizzo said. "But catcher, with the people we have on staff right now and Jesus, we feel comfortable where we're at."

As for the game, it was another in a seemingly endless string of losses, dropping the Nats to 50-94 on the season.

Lee (W, 14-11, 3.00)pitched well, but the Nats made as much trouble for themselves as Lee did. The Nats struck out in order in the first inning on just 13 pitches. In the third inning, after a leadoff double, Josh Bard was thrown out trying to advance to third on a grounder to second base by Alberto Gonzalez. Two batters later, Gonzales allowed a slow roller by Justin Maxwell to hit his foot, making the runner out.

Not to be outdone, Nats starter Garrett Mock got himself out on the bases as well. He reached on an infield single in the fifth inning, and attempted to take second on an overthrow by Chase Utley. But Mock never looked to see where the ball went, and it hit a wall and bounced right to catcher Carlos Ruiz, who threw to second to get Mock easily.

Mock (L, 3-8, 5.89) pitched better than his line, and only allowed on hit after the second inning. He gave up five earned on seven hits and two walks in six innings, striking out two. But the big blow was a ground ball double down the left field line by Pedro Feliz with the bases loaded in the second.

"He had a little bad luck," interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "They hit some balls hard, but he threw well after the second inning."

THE TAKEAWAY: This team simply makes too many outs on the basepaths, and baserunning skills have to be a point of emphasis in spring training. There's just no excuse for a veteran like Bard to make an out on that play early in the game.

Same with Gonzalez. Even if the ball hadn't hit him, he was still close enough to second base that if Rollins had fielded the ball cleanly, he probably would have thrown Gonzalez out at third anyway.

THE GOOD: Justin Maxwell. He went 2-for-4 from the leadoff spot, his second multi-hit game in three days.

THE BAD: Ryan Zimmerman. 0-for-4 with a strikeout.

THE UGLY: The news about Flores. What a crusher. The injury probably doesn't have anything to do with his activation and three pinch-hit at bats, but why run him out there when he's not completely healthly and run the risk. He's apparently been experiencing this discomfort for over a month, which pre-dates his activation.

It's just more medical mis-practice for this organization, which has a long history of it at this point. Why even open yourself up to the criticism?

But it's just devastating news to hear your young catcher needs to have labrum surgery.

But you have to love Rizzo's optimism that "middle of spring training," is worst-case scenario. Has he been paying attention to some of these injuries? I can think of a lot of worser worst-case scenarios. But I'm a natural pessimist.

NEXT GAME: The middle game of a three-game set with Philly. Livan Hernandez (8-10, 5.30) takes on Joe Blanton (9-7, 4.11) at 7:05 pm from Citizen's Bank Park.


  1. Anonymous // September 16, 2009 at 10:53 AM  

    It's just more medical mis-practice for this organization, which has a long history of it at this point. Why even open yourself up to the criticism?

    Know-nothings like you will criticize no matter what they do. A long history of medical mis-practice, you say? Where are your medical degrees or other bona fides that would qualify you to know medical mis-practice if you saw it? Players getting hurt while playing sports is rarely if ever a result of medical mis-practice, despite what you whining bloggers say.

  2. Dave Nichols // September 16, 2009 at 12:16 PM  

    thanks for the comment anon.

    i stated "mis-practice" hyphenated onpurpose, but i guess the distinction was missed.

    i'm not accusing the Nats doctors of malpractice. more, there seems to be an overriding problem historically of injuries getting mis-diagnosed or injuries turning out worse than they first were.

    i'm thinking: Shawn Hill, Chad Cordero, Nick Johnson, Craig Stammen among others.

    glad to see you're still reading me, even if you think i'm a know-nothing, whining blogger.

  3. Dave Nichols // September 16, 2009 at 12:18 PM  

    ooh, forgot John Patterson and Ryan Wagner in there.

    i'm not going to post any links to support this. if you're a Nats fan, you know that all these guys turned out to be injured worse than the original diagnosis.

    let's all remember, they sent Jordan Zimmermann back out to pitch in the minors after originally saying "no big deal" and turns out he needed TJ surgery.

  4. Anonymous // September 16, 2009 at 1:03 PM  

    Mis-practice, malpractice. Know-nothing, clueless. Same difference.

    The fact is that no responsible or competent doctor can guarantee that all problems will be diagnosed on the initial presentation of symptoms or injury. And no responsible or competent doctor will clear a patient to resume normal activities until he believes that the patient is healed enough to do it. Yet no doctor can ever be 100% sure that a patient is healed. Doctors are not gods. They have only their professional judgment and experience to go by.

    So you are basically here accusing the Nats doctors of being irresponsible and/or incompetent. That's a pretty heavy charge to be making. You don't see the mainstream media making such suggestions. Perhaps another sign that although you desperately want to cling to that mantle, you bloggers are not journalists by any means.

  5. Mike // September 16, 2009 at 2:41 PM  

    I don't normally leave comments, but feel obligated to call out this "Anonymous" know-it all.

    To Anonymous - I read about 20 of the Nats blogs pretty regularly, as well as read the mainstream media. I read the blogs to hear the different opinions, get a variety of info, etc. First, What is your beef with bloggers man? If you think that bloggers are whining and know-nothings, then don't read them! They can also say whatever they want - it is part of the US. Constitution! Yes, players do get hurt in all sports, however, the Nationals have a long history of injuries and having injuries turn out to be worse than originally diagnosed. There is a pattern and many of the other bloggers and mainstream media have commented on this issue over the years. Flores is in a long line of these injuries, including Scott Olsen, Chad Cordero, Jordan Zimmermann, etc. And if you were a Nats fan, you would know that other bloggers are saying the same thing so why only pick on one - don't see your comments on the other blogs. Leave the comment with your own name and don't hide behind the Anon.

    Good post Dave. Keep it up.

  6. Dave Nichols // September 16, 2009 at 3:04 PM  

    Mike, thanks for the nice words.

    Anonymous, thanks again for your comment.

    Not that I feel like I need to defend my comments, but I will tell you specifically that I do, in fact, have experience with sports medicine, and I'm not trying to discount the fact that players -- in all sports -- get hurt, regardless of their medical treatment.

    what I am saying, specifically, is that Flores hurt his shoulder. he was sent for therapy and rehab, then sent back on the field for two weeks. AT THAT POINT, complaining of lingering soreness, he was given an MRI where the fracture was found. so they missed the fracture the first time he was evaluated and sent back onto the field.

    then, after a lengthy absense where he essentially did nothing for two months, went through a rehab process again, and again took lots of BP -- though he still complained of soreness -- and activated to active roster (to his surprise) and put into games -- ALL THE WHILE complaining of soreness. AT THAT POINT he was given an MRI with contrast and the SLAP tear was found.

    so, he was returned to the playing field TWICE, though he complained of discomfort the entire time.

    that, coupled by the fact the Nats have had no less than seven labrum injuries in the last four years (Drese, Lawrence, Guzman, Cordero, Pena, Olsen, Flores), in my layman's opinion, is mis-practice.

    you may continue to insult me all you like. i do not sensor comments to my posts, unless they are vulgar.

    but honestly, anonymous, your insults would be much more effective and i'd be more inclined to take them seriously if you had the fortitude to sign them, since you obviously take the time to regularly read and comment on my blog, even though I am a "know-nothing, whining clueless blogger".

    drop me an email if you'd like to discuss any of this in person.

    Dave Nichols

  7. Anonymous // September 16, 2009 at 3:56 PM  

    Everything you are saying in your lengthy "defense" may be true, but if it is then you are still implying that the team is going against doctors' advice by sending these players back out before they are healed. You really think they are doing that? And if they are, you really think their doctors don't have the personal and professional integrity to resign when the team constantly undermines their recommendations?

    Or is it more likely that the doctors know what they're talking about and you with your "experience with sports medicine" - which I take to mean you've been treated for sports injuries by sports physicians, nothing more - don't?

  8. Dave Nichols // September 16, 2009 at 6:03 PM  

    anonymous, I'm tired of this discussion. sorry this blog just ins't good enough for you.

  9. Anonymous // September 17, 2009 at 12:04 AM  

    It has nothing to do with me. You're the one casting unfounded aspersions of incompetence on the Nats medical staff. Defend yourself all you want, change the terminology all you want, but that's what you're doing. I'm merely pointing it out. If that feels uncomfortable to you, maybe there's a reason for that.