Friday, June 14, 2024

Nationals infielder Carter Kieboom to have Tommy John surgery

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Washington Nationals infielder Carter Kieboom will have Tommy John surgery, manager Davey Martinez told reporters Friday, including Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post. He will have the surgery next Friday and miss the rest of the season.

Kieboom, 24, has not played this season. He hurt his elbow during infield drills in spring training and was initially shut down 4-6 weeks with a flexor mass strain in his throwing elbow. It’s not uncommon for flexor issues to lead to Tommy John surgery, even weeks after being diagnosed.

The typically Tommy John surgery rehab timetable is 14-16 months for pitchers. It is much shorter for position players though, usually in the range of six months, meaning Kieboom could be ready for next spring training. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Keiboom the game’s No. 18 prospect heading into 2020. Here’s part of his write-up:

Tools-wise, Kieboom still profiles as a potential regular thanks to his bat and strong throwing arm, both of which grade as at least above-average, if not better. Even with the strong arm, Kieboom is not likely to remain at shortstop for much longer — Washington had him play a lot of second base in the minors this season, and that seems like his likeliest landing spot. Presuming Kieboom fares better heading forward, he could check in as a two-way contributor at the keystone as soon as next season. 

Kieboom has yet to deliver on that promise with the Nationals. He’s a career .197/.304/.285 hitter in 414 plate appearances spread across parts of three big league seasons. Kieboom is a career .286/.400/.464 hitter in Triple-A, so he’s proven all he needs to prove at that level. Now he has to figure it out how to produce in the show.

With the Nationals in rebuilding mode, the organization’s hope was that Kieboom would take a step forward this year and emerge as a long-term building block. Instead, the elbow injury turned it into a lost season. Washington, which has had to play journeymen César Hernández, Alcides Escobar, Dee Strange-Gordon and Maikel Franco on the infield this year, took a 13-26 record into Friday’s game with the Brewers. Only the 11-26 Reds have a worse record this season.

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