For the second-straight year, the Washington Nationals have lost one of their top prospects to injury at a critical time in their development. Last Spring it was Anthony Rendon, the Nats' 2011 1st Round pick, who suffered a partial fracture of his left ankle early in his first pro season. This year it's the Nationals' 2012 Minor League Player of the Year, Matt Skole, who tore the UCL in his left (non-throwing) arm and underwent Tommy John surgery. Rizzo told reporters about the procedure before tonight's series finale with the Miami Marlins. The Nats' GM also spoke about the injury this morning in an appearance on 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s The Mike Rizzo Show with Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier.
"Today [Skole] had surgery," Rizzo told the show's hosts, "I just talked to our doctor before I got on with you guys. It was a UCL surgery, a Tommy John, if you will, surgery. But it's on his non-throwing arm. He got caught playing first base. Throw into the runner and the runner took his elbow and popped his UCL. So, it was a bad injury for him, but being a non-throwing arm and a non-pitcher, he should recover fully and quicker than a throwing injury UCL. So, we're looking forward to him, toward the end of the season, maybe getting a few swings in three or four months from now, start swinging and get some Winter League at bats, and get prepared for next season. But it was a shame because he had such a great Spring and he's got such a great future that he's going to have to waste a season. But our rehab guys and our medical staff will do a great job with him and we're looking for big things for him next season."
In his first Spring Training with the big league club, Skole, who was ranked as the Nats' no.4 prospect by Baseball America after the 2012 season, was 6 for 24 (.250/.406/.333), with two doubles, seven walks and eight Ks in 14 games. The 23-year-old, 2011 5th Round pick had a combined .291/.426/.559 line with 28 doubles and 27 HRs in 119 games and 524 plate appearances split between Low-A Hagerstown and High-A Potomac last season. Skole was 1 for 5 with a double in two games at Double-A Harrisburg before he suffered the injury.