The Washington Nationals were well aware of the fact that Lucas Giolito might eventually need Tommy John surgery when they drafted the right-hander with the 16th pick in the first round of the 2012 Draft. Giolito suffered a strain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow during his senior year at Harvard-Westlake High School in California, causing his stock to drop, but the Nationals were comfortable with their history of dealing with UCL injuries if it came to surgery and said with his age (17 at the time of the draft) and talent, the decision to select him when they did was an easy one. "When he's 100%, he goes top three in this draft," Nats' scouting director Kris Kline said on the night of the 2012 Draft, "so it's kind of a no-brainer."
After rehabbing the injury, Giolito made one start for the Gulf Coast Nationals last summer before he suffered a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament and was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery. It was an eventuality the Nats were prepared and something they were confident they could guide the young pitcher through.
"We'll have a rehabilitation schedule in place the same as we've had with Jordan Zimmermann and [Stephen Strasburg] and [2010 2nd Round pick] Sammy Solis," Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier last summer, "and... in a year he'll be a young 19-year-old guy that's come off Tommy John surgery and will begin his ascent up the minor league system." In an early May appearance on the eponymous "Mike Rizzo Show" on the Nationals' flagship station this summer, Rizzo once again updated everyone on the progress of Giolito's rehab.
"Lucas Giolito threw 30 fastballs for the first time, I think two days ago," Rizzo said, "and everything was fine. He's starting his slow progression to pitching again. That was the first time he climbed up on the mound and actually threw fastballs. So, that's where Lucas is right now, he's in great shape and he looks really good."
According to a report by MASNSports.com's Byron Kerr this morning, Giolito will take another step in his rehab from Tommy John and make his second pro start for the Gulf Coast League Nationals tomorrow when they take on the GCL Cardinals tomorrow at 12:00 pm EDT.
• Here's Mr. Kerr's story on the news, which is apparently via Nats' Director of Player Development Doug Harris: