If Aaron Barrett is going to contribute to the Washington Nationals' success this season it's going to take a lot of work and a little luck. Barrett, 28, underwent Tommy John surgery in early September after appearing in 40 games for the Nationals in 2015 and posting a 4.60 ERA, a 2.21 FIP, seven walks (2.15 BB/9) and 35 Ks (10.74 K/9) in 29 ⅓ innings pitched. In a mid-December conversation with reporters, the Nats' 2010 9th Round pick said his goal was to make it back to the majors by the end of the 2016 campaign.
"The thing about Tommy John," Barrett explained, "everyone is so different, depending on whether or not they have bone work or one single pitch and they tore it right off the bone or they had 80% tear stuff like that and that's why there is such a wide range of the 12-to-16 [month] kind of recovery process, but some guys come back in ten.
"I think Jordan Zimmermann came back in ten. Matt Thornton came back in ten. So personally for me," Barrett said, "I'm not circling September 3rd, which is the year exact from my surgery. I'm not sitting there say, 'You know what, I have to be in the big leagues by September 3rd,' because I think I'm going to set myself up for failure. Just because you just don't know if I'm going to be able to come back in ten months or fourteen months. But my goal in mind is I'm going to work my tail off to get back in the big leagues next year. I'm going to do everything I can in my power to be back and I hope it's some time in September because it's right at that year point, but like I said, every case is different you just don't know.
"But I'm going to do everything I can to get back next year and I plan to come back stronger than ever."
Barrett, who also underwent surgery for an ankle injury this winter, celebrated the five-month anniversary of his Tommy John surgery by getting in some throwing, as seen in the GIF he shared on his personal Twitter account: