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Nationals' prospect Matt Purke to have Tommy John surgery Thursday

Washington Nationals' prospect Matt Purke will have Tommy John surgery on Thursday, less than two years after the 23-year-old left-hander had surgery on the injured shoulder which led to him being available for the Nats to draft in the 3rd round of the 2011 Draft.


Matt Purke was drafted 14th overall by the Texas Rangers in 2009, but he didn't sign, choosing instead to attend college at Texas Christian University where he was (16-0) as a freshman starter, with a 3.02 ERA, 34 walks (2.63 BB/9) and 142 K's (10.99 K/9) in 20 games and 116 1/3 IP.

Purke dealt with a shoulder injury in his sophomore season, however, which limited him to just 11 starts and 52 2/3 IP in which the southpaw was (5-1) with a 1.71 ERA, 20 walks (3.42 BB/9) and 61 K's (10.42 K/9).

"It’s disappointing. He’s going to be a year-plus of getting back. But we’ve been through this before with good results, so we’re hoping for the same." -Mike Rizzo to The Washington Post's Adam Kilgore on Matt Purke having Tommy John

Injury concerns led to the left-hander being available in the third round when the Washington Nationals' fourth pick of the 2011 Draft came up. The Nats selected Purke 96th overall, and signed him to a 4-year/$4.15M major league deal.

The shoulder was still an issue as he started his pro career, however, so he eventually underwent surgery in late 2012.

Purke returned to competitive action in the Nationals' system last summer, going (1-1) with a 2.48 ERA, a 2.54 FIP, seven walks (2.17 BB/9) and 41 Ks (12.72 K/9) in six starts and 29 IP for the Low-A Hagerstown Suns before he moved up to High-A Potomac, where he was (5-3) in six starts for the P-Nats, posting a 4.43 ERA, a 3.58 FIP, 18 walks (2.66 BB/9) and 41 Ks (6.05 K/9) in 61 IP.

The Nats sent Purke to the Arizona Fall League for the second time after the 2013 campaign to build up innings and arm strength.

In six starts, he was (3-1) with a 3.98 ERA, 3.28 FIP, nine walks (3.52 BB/9) and 17 Ks (6.65 K/9) in 23 IP.

After pitching for the Nationals in Spring Training this year, Purke was assigned to Double-A Harrisburg to start his fourth season with the organization. He made just eight starts, going (1-6) and putting up a 8.04 ERA, a 5.83 FIP, 18 walks (5.17 BB/9) and 22 Ks (6.32 K/9) in 31 1/3 IP before he suffered an elbow injury which has now been diagnosed as a torn ulnar collateral ligament which will force Purke to have Tommy John surgery.

The Nationals announced this afternoon that the 23-year-old pitcher will undergo the procedure tomorrow: