- The Washington Times - Monday, April 17, 2006

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Washington Nationals right-hander Ryan Drese will not need surgery on his injured right elbow but will be out four to six weeks, the club said last night.

Drese, who had to be removed from Friday night’s start in the fifth inning after complaining of elbow pain, was examined yesterday in Los Angeles by orthopedic specialist Lewis Yocum. An MRI revealed he has a strained flexor tendon, not the sprained ligament the Nationals feared.

A sprain likely would have required season-ending Tommy John surgery. The tendon strain, on the other hand, should only sideline Drese for about a month. He’s scheduled to rejoin the club Friday in Washington, at which time he will begin a rehabilitation program.

The news comes as somewhat of a relief to the Nationals, who already had lost pitchers Brian Lawrence and Luis Ayala to season-ending injuries and veteran Pedro Astacio to a forearm strain.

Washington placed Drese on the 15-day disabled list and must find a replacement for him in the starting rotation. Drese’s next turn in the rotation was supposed to be Thursday against Philadelphia, and the Nationals are expected to promote left-hander Billy Traber from Class AAA New Orleans.

Mark Zuckerman