The Nationals’ top selection in the 2012 draft, right-hander Lucas Giolito, met with reporters via conference call today and said that his elbow is making good progress as he rehabs the strain.
“The doctors have treated me,” Giolito said. “I have had some of the best doctors around to treat me. I feel really good. I have thrown off of flat ground. I have thrown long toss from 280 feet to 300 feet. I have been throwing pretty hard from 60 foot flat ground. I look forward to pitching soon.”
You wouldn’t expect the first question to be anything else, right?
Taking us back to Monday night, the 17-year old Giolito said it was thrilling to get the call he had been drafted by the Nationals at No. 16.
“I had no idea where I was going to go off the board,” Giolito recalled. “It was really just a huge surprise to be taken by such a great organization. Right when it happened, it just kind of struck me and I was speechless. It was an awesome moment.”
Giolito also has a scholarship offer in hand from UCLA. How big is his commitment to play college baseball?
“UCLA is one of the best baseball programs in all of college baseball,” Giolito said. “UCLA is a really big option for me and we will see how everything plays out.”
Despite missing the entire high school baseball season, Giolito said he was relieved that they were able to treat his strained elbow through rehab and not through surgery. He believes that the injury is not serious enough now to require surgery.
“I have been throwing and working out a lot, working different muscles in the rehab program and my pitching arm to get it stronger,”” Giolito explained. “I look forward to getting on the mound soon.”
Giolito is known for his explosive fastball and a lethal power curve, and said he loves to set batters up with his top two pitches.
“I really like to throw my fastball inside and then come back with my curveball,” Giolito said. “I have been developing my changeup. (I use that) combination to attack hitters and do everything I can to help the team win.”
He said he has always been a Justin Verlander fan and admires another lethal flame-thrower from southern California.
“I definitely try to emulate Justin Verlander,” Giolito said. “In the Nationals organization, it is Stephen Strasburg. The way he goes about pitching is the same thing that I want to do.”
The Nationals wholeheartedly agree with Giolito in that assessment and envision a Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Giolito front four for years to come.