Unexpected setbacks taking toll on Flores

On Saturday, General Manager Mike Rizzo announced that Jesus Flores experienced another setback in his long road back to the big leagues, saying the team will give Flores several days off from his throwing program after he recently experienced pain, once again, in his shoulder.

Flores hasn’t played with the team regularly for over a year and he’s been rehabbing his shoulder since he had surgery to repair a torn labrum last September. The Nationals had hoped Flores would be ready by Opening Day, but he’s been shut down twice already this season, and the unexpected interruptions are clearly taking an emotional toll on the catcher.

“I’ve always done what the trainers and doctors have asked from me. I hope that soon this can be resolved so that i can get back to playing,” Flores said via e-mail on Sunday morning.

The catcher, who the Nationals picked in the 2006 Rule 5 draft, looked like a steal for the organization and the long-term answer behind the plate. But he continues to experience shoulder pain following his surgery last fall.

“It’s tough dealing with constant setbacks,” he said. “I love this game and I want to be back on the field where I belong.”

Flores will now be shut down, yet again, while waiting for the pain to pass. Rizzo believes that he’ll pick up his throwing program right where he left off sometime after the All-Star break. With a clean MRI, it’s unclear what’s causing the lingering issues for Flores.

“I started to feel the pain about two weeks ago during a throwing program and as time progressed, the pain increased,” Flores said. “Every time I try to throw I get a sharp pain in the [right] shoulder.”

Beyond dealing with uncertainty about his own future, Flores said he hates not be able to contribute on the field and help the team win games. He’s cautiously optimistic that the pain will disappear soon, but a year of medical setbacks has certainly tempered his expectations.

Still, Flores is determined to return to the majors, and wants to do it with the Nationals.

“I want to come back 100% because I still have the dreams to be the starting catcher for many years to come with this organization,” he said.

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