SCOTTSDALE AZ - OCTOBER 20: (L-R) Oliver Drake #43 Sammy Solis #51 and Washington Nationals prospect Bryce Harper all playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions warm up in the outfield before the AZ Fall League game against the Mesa Solar Sox at Scottsdale Stadium on October 20 2010 in Scottsdale Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
• UPDATE: 4:23 pm EST: via @NationalsPR on Twitter: "Nationals prospect LHP Sammy Solis will have 'Tommy John' surgery next Tuesday by Dr. Lewis Yocum in LA."
• via Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP): "Solis 1st had discomfort in the fall, had tests in December. One doc wanted TJ, another said wait. 'It cost us a couple months,' Rizzo said."
• 2:30 pm EST: To recap quickly. When last we heard about the Washington Nationals' 2010 2nd Round pick Sammy Solis, the 23-year-old left-hander, who'd been shut down after experiencing elbow pain in the Arizona Fall League, was preparing to throw again after a winter spent resting an elbow about which there was a difference of opinion when he'd visited with both team doctor Wiemi Douoguih and "renowned orthopedic surgeon Lewis Yocum," late last year, as the Washington Times' Amanda Comak had reported. Nats' Director of Player Development Doug Harris told MASNSports.com's Byron Kerr this winter that the Nationals would design a throwing program specifically for Solis when he started up again this Spring, but according to a report by NatsInsider.com's Mark Zuckerman this morning, when Solis couldn't make it through a throwing session this week he was once again sent to see Dr. Yocum with the expectation that Tommy John surgery lies ahead for the lefty drafted out of the University of San Diego with the 51st pick of the 2010 Draft.
After 4.0 IP at Class-A Hagerstown late in 2010, the 6'5'', 230lb Solis was sent to the Arizona Fall League where he was (1-0) with a 3.80 ERA, 4.72 FIP, seven walks (2.66 BB/9) and 12 K's (4.56 K/9) in five starts, one relief appearance and 23.2 IP. The then-22-year-old lefty started the 2011 season back at Low-A Hagerstown where he was (2-1) with a 4.02 ERA, a 3.22 FIP, 12 walks (2.68 BB/9) and 40 K's (8.93 K/9) in seven starts and 40.1 IP before a promotion to Class-A Potomac where Solis was (6-2) with a 2.72 ERA, a 3.16 FIP, 11 walks (1.76 BB/9) and 53 K's (8.47 K/9) in 10 starts and 56.1 IP. The Nats' second pick of the 2010 Draft behind only Bryce Harper was seven starts and 26.0 IP into his second AFL stint with a 4.50 ERA, 3.74 FIP, 16 walks (5.54 BB/9) and 25 K's (8.65 K/9) when he was shut down.
Baseball America had Solis ranked 8th overall as the second-best left-hander in the Nats' organization behind 2011 3rd Round pick Matt Purke on their original Top 10 Prospect list when it was released in November and he moved up to the 6th spot in the Nationals' organization on their updated 2012 Nats Prospect List following the six-player prospect-filled deal that brought Gio Gonzalez to Washington. Solis was ranked no.6 in the Nats' system as the top left-hander on ESPN.com's Keith Law's 2012 Nats' prospect list. MLB.com's scouts ranked Solis 4th overall ahead of Purke as the best left-hander in Washington's system in their 2012 rankings.
MLB.com's Bill Ladson (@washingnats) confirmed on Twitter that Solis was seeing Dr. Lewis Yocum again. Though Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore qualified a report by saying he wasn't refuting what NatsInsider.com's Mark Zuckerman had written about the left-hander being "likely" headed for Tommy John surgery, he did write on Twitter (@AdamKilgoreWP) that he was, "... told 'nothing has been defined regarding a specific surgery' for Sammy Solis. Visiting doc. @MarkZuckerman reported Tommy John is likely." If Solis does have the surgery, it would be the third time since 2009 that one of the Nationals' top pitching prospects was forced to undergo the procedure following Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg.
The last scouting report on Solis from D.C. GM Mike Rizzo, after he'd seen him pitch in the Arizona Fall League (in the game in which he first experienced elbow pain) was that the left-hander, who turned 23 last August, remained on the fast track he'd been on since he was drafted in 2010. "He was 93-96," the Nats' GM told MLB Network Radio hosts Jim Bowden and Casey Stern noting an increase in velocity on his fastball, "He's got a plus changeup. We're revamping, taking him from a spiked curve ball, which he had trouble commanding to a more traditional curve ball, and if that becomes a useable pitch for him, this guy could go quickly, and take off and be a real factor for us in the very near future."