Washington Nationals left-hander Luis Avilan has decided to undergo Tommy John surgery to correct a torn UCL in his elbow, manager Dave Martinez announced Monday.
Avilan learned he torn his UCL on Saturday, but the 31-year-old reliever was deciding between rehabbing the injury or having season-ending surgery. He chose the latter option, which ends his campaign after five innings.
“I wish him all the best,” Martinez said. “I know he’s going to go through the process, it’s going to be months. But hopefully he can get back and pitch again.”
Avilan has pitched for seven teams in his 10-year career, including four seasons with the Atlanta Braves and three with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He made the Nationals after joining the team as a non-roster invite to open spring training.
In his final two appearances for Washington, Avilan’s pitch count inflated after Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin were yanked early in poor outings. Avilan threw 38 pitches last week against St. Louis, working through a six-run fifth inning. Two days later, Avilan threw 39 pitches across two clean innings.
But soon after, Avilan felt elbow discomfort. An MRI revealed the UCL tear, forcing him to miss the end of the season and endure a lengthy comeback trail from Tommy John surgery.
“He seemed upbeat about it,” Martinez said. “He knows what he’s up against, but he’s going to do everything he can. He said he wants to try to come back and pitch again, and good for him. So hopefully the surgery goes well for him.”