Jason Marquis was back with the Nationals on Friday after getting a second opinion on his elbow in Cincinnati on Thursday, confident he'll be able to pitch without surgery and return sooner than the six-week prognosis the Nationals released on Thursday night.
Marquis got a cortisone shot yesterday to relieve the inflammation caused by bone chips in his elbow, and will begin a throwing program in seven to 10 days. The Nationals expect him to be out six weeks, but he mentioned returning in as little as three.
"I'll still be here at the end of the year - hopefully three weeks from now, this will be ready to go, and I have all next year. It's tough right now," Marquis said. "I've been fortunate for the first 15 years of my career not to miss any significant time. So I guess you could say I'm one of the lucky ones. You deal with it."
General manager Mike Rizzo said Marquis had an MRI as part of his physical before he signed with the team in December. He said the Nationals might opt for surgery with Marquis after the season if the bone chips are still causing problems, but they're hoping to avoid it for now.
"That's the decision we had to make: Whether we do it now and he's out 8-to-10 weeks after the surgery or he's out 3-4-5 weeks now with the shot," Rizzo said.
Craig Stammen had a similar injury last season, pitching with it for much of the year until he had arthroscopic elbow surgery in August. Rizzo said Marquis' bone chips aren't as problematic as Stammen's were last season, and didn't think it was a given that Marquis would be pitching in pain the rest of the season. And manager Jim Riggleman said he wouldn't put Marquis on the mound if the right-hander had to tough it out for the final three or four months of the season.
"He won't come back if he's in pain. We'll find that out in a rehab situation," Riggleman said. "He'll be pitching while on the disabled list, whatever it is, 20-30 day rehab stint, that he can go down and pitch. It might only be a couple of starts and he says, 'Boy I feel great' and he's back here. Or if he still feels it, we won't put him out there."
Marquis said it was his plan all week to pitch tonight; he threw two bullpen session this week to work on mechanical adjustments he felt needed to be made after allowing seven runs without retiring an out on Sunday. He said his range of motion was affected by the bone chips on Sunday, but said his delivery needed to be altered even without the injury.
"I'm not going to make excuses. I just wasn't good," Marquis said. "I mean, were there restrictions on my elbow? Yeah. But if I'm going to go out there and try to pitch through things, I still have to get it done and feel like I can still put my team in a position to win. That was then, move on and try to get this better so I'm more effective the next time I take the ball."
Also: Riggleman said third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was doubtful for Saturday's game with an injury to his right hamstring. Zimmerman hit a little before the game and could pinch-hit tonight, but Riggleman didn't want his franchise player running too hard to first base.
"Whether it's conceding an out or whether it's a base hit, just get the at-bat," Riggleman said.
Back with the live thread in a little bit.