“It’s just awesome how everything’s coming together,” Karns said. “In Double-A, I had no thought that this was going to happen.”
Karns’ major league debut May 28 came out of necessity, with Ross Detwiler unable to start because of an oblique injury. But it was the work Karns put in after shoulder surgery, the effort to allow his body to once again showcase his talent despite what can be a debilitating injury for pitchers, that brought him to that moment.
“[After I had surgery] I just sat down and talked to [Nationals assistant trainer Steve Gober] for awhile and he was like, ‘Hey, man, surgery fixes the problem. But what separates you from being injured and healthy is the work you put into it after,’” Karns said.
“We don’t accept the words, ‘No, we can’t,’” Tambra said of a family philosophy she tried to teach her children. “We just try and find a different way.”
Members of the Nationals training staff who worked with Karns through his rehab said his debut was perhaps the proudest they had been since Chien-Ming Wang, who rehabbed a shoulder injury for two years with them, took the mound again in a big league game.
The Nationals don’t know how long Karns will be a member of their rotation this season. Detwiler is working his way back, but Stephen Strasburg is also out with a lat strain and their pitching staff is in a significant state of flux.
Karns is aiming to get a little better each time out, and the Nationals hope he will be able to do that against the Twins on Friday.
However long it lasts, Karns — and his family — will surely enjoy the ride.
“I am just looking at whatever that day is,” Karns said. “It’s out of my control. I’m just thankful for every day I have up here. If I have to go back [to the minors], it’s just another day I have to go back to work.
“If they want to keep me around for another couple of days or the rest of the year, I’m not going to argue with them one bit.”