Nationals Lose Cole Kimball to Rotator Cuff Surgery

Posted by Dave Nichols | Friday, July 08, 2011 | , , | 0 comments »

Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson announced in his pre-game press conference that rookie right-handed relief pitcher Cole Kimball will be lost for the season due to rotator cuff surgery, to be performed next week.

Kimball originally went on the disabled list June 10, coincidentally the start of the Nats' eight-game winning streak.  He tried to throw this week but was still in discomfort.  The Nats sent him to a specialist in New York who did an enhanced MRI which showed the tear.

Kimball, 25, made his MLB debut this season, pitching in 12 games.  He went 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 14 innings.  In 12 appearances for Triple-A Syracuse this season, Kimball did not allow an earned run in 13 2/3 innings, going 1-0 with five saves in 12 games, striking out 14.

The loss is potentially devestating for the promising young reliever and the Nationals.  The success rates for pitchers with rotator cuff surgery are not nearly as high as with elbow ligament replacement surgery ("Tommy John" surgery).  It's not necessarily a death sentence to Kimball's career, but his road back will be long and not guaranteed.