Solís’ MRI shows nerve inflammation, no ligament damage

Sammy Solís won’t be coming off the disabled list Saturday when eligible, but the injured Nationals reliever did get encouraging results from an MRI administered today on his left elbow.

Solís said he has nerve inflammation, not ligament damage as he and the club briefly feared when his arm wasn’t responding to treatment over the last week while he has been on the DL.

There is no formal timetable for Solís to return to the mound, but that was less of a concern to the left-hander than the confirmation he isn’t once again dealing with an elbow ligament issue like the one that forced him to have Tommy John surgery five years ago.

Solis-Throws-Red-Sidebar.jpg“It’s huge,” he said. “Having Tommy John before, any pain in that general area is going to cause a little panic, I think not only with me but with the team. It was good news, best-case scenario, really. Now I’ll just hang out, work my butt off to get this thing calmed down and hopefully I’ll be back in a week or two. But I don’t know the timeline.”

Solís was placed on the 10-day DL on April 19 with what the Nationals termed elbow inflammation. It was not believed to be serious, and the expectation was that he’d be good to go when eligible to return. But manager Dusty Baker noted the elbow wasn’t getting progressively better with rest, and Solís said he could tell he wasn’t dealing with normal discomfort that comes with the territory as a big league reliever.

“You come in as a reliever, you never really feel great,” he said. “You come in every day and throw and are like, ‘Yeah, it feels good enough.’ And that’s kind of where I was at. But as I was going day-to-day, it just wasn’t getting better, even with meds and a little time off. I think the team thought: ‘Let’s just make sure your ligament’s OK.’ We did, and it’s fine. So it’s a relief to me, definitely a weight off my back that it’s just a little nerve and we just need some time.”

The treatment for this nerve inflammation involves physical therapy and perhaps “an injection here and there to free it up,” according to Solís.

Though he pitched a scoreless inning in Atlanta the night before he was placed on the DL, Solís overall hadn’t been his usually effective himself to begin the season. He was scored upon in three of his first five appearances and has posted only one clean inning to date.

Having dealt with not only Tommy John surgery but also shoulder problems and other physical ailments during his career, the 28-year-old is still learning how to differentiate between the types of arm discomfort he feels on the mound. This particular problem was foreign to him.

“The nerve is definitely a new thing for me, so this was a little more alarming,” he said. “Just because I’ve never had the tingling in my hand, the burning in my forearm kind of thing. It’s always been there in my elbow, but as far as radiating down my arm, I never had that. So this was definitely new, and I’ll be figuring out how to treat it therapy-wise as well.”

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