In his second pro start for the Gulf Coast Nationals, and his first outing of the 2013 season coming off Tommy John surgery, Washington Nationals' 2012 1st Round pick Lucas Giolito threw a 1/3 of an inning in which he gave up a hit, two walks and two runs, one earned against the St. Louis Cardinals' Gulf Coast League affiliate.
It was, of course, the soon-to-turn-19-year-old Giolito's first competitive action since having the surgical procedure performed on his right elbow last summer. In his second start of the year on Tuesday, against the same Gulf Coast Cards he faced last week, Giolito struck three batters out in 2.0 scoreless innings of work in which he allowed just one hit. One member of the Nationals' organization was impressed with what he saw from the hard-throwing right-hander who was the top-ranked pitcher in the Nats' system on Baseball America's preseason rankings:
Ryan Mattheus (@RyanMattheus) July 9, 2013
Nats' GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier this morning that he was happy with the progress Giolito has made on his rehab program. "He's up to 35 pitches," Rizzo said, "and to me, the only thing that counts for me for with Lucas and any other guy that we're rehabbing right now is how he feels the next day? What was his stuff like? And is he feeling comfortable the day after he throws? All of those checked out clean. His velocity is creeping back to where [it was] pre-injury and when we saw him in high school before we drafted him. He was 95-99 and he's started spinning the breaking ball pretty good. He's commanding three pitches and he looks really good on the mound."
"So we're excited about him," Rizzo said. "We're going to take a cautious route to get him back. Try to get him some innings under his belt to kind of prep him for next year to go to a higher full season league and get his 140-150 innings in next year."
The Nationals' general manager also talked about Matt Purke, the 22-year-old, 2011 3rd Round pick who's back on the mound this season after shoulder surgery to finally correct the issue which cropped up in college and led to him being available in the third round in 2011 after he'd been taken in the 1st Round by the Texas Rangers in 2009. Purke endured a rough outing in his second start for the Potomac Nationals on Monday night, giving up 11 hits, two home runs and nine runs, all earned in 3 2/3 innings of work after giving up four hits and one run in his first start for the P-Nats after being promoted from Low-A Hagerstown.
"Matt Purke is one of our real bright guys that we have coming in the future," Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN's hosts today. "His velocity is creeping back up there. We're told by our rehab people that we're not going to see the true stuff of Matt Purke, pre-injury stuff, until next spring training. Because this was a little bit different. It was a shoulder scope. It wasn't the Tommy John ligament and that type of thing. So, Matt's progressing nicely. His velocity is up to 94 [mph], he touched 95 the other night. But the last thing that comes in these guys' rehab, don't forget, is consistency and command of their stuff and that's been inconsistent for Matt thus far this year.
"But, progressing nicely, hopefully he finishes the season strong. We'd like to get him to -- he's at the High-A level right now, we'd like for him to be introduced to the Double-A level before this season's over this year."