Cavalli shut down again, gets cortisone shot in shoulder

Cade Cavalli has been shut down again after experiencing a recurrence of shoulder discomfort in his first throwing session since landing on the injured list three weeks ago, though both the Nationals and the rookie right-hander say they’re confident he’s not dealing with anything more serious than inflammation.

Cavalli had just completed a two-week shutdown period following his shaky Aug. 26 major league debut and was cleared to resume throwing Wednesday. But his session, in which he was going to be restricted to 60 feet on flat ground, had to be cut short when he reported more shoulder soreness.

The Nationals gave Cavalli a cortisone shot and instructed him to shut down for another three to seven days before he attempts to throw again.

“It was a little painful, but we got it all worked out,” the 24-year-old said. “And here in a couple days, I should be back out there throwing again after letting it calm down. I’m very encouraged. I think it’s going to be very good.”

Though the team insists Cavalli continues to deal with only shoulder inflammation and nothing more serious, the fact he was unable to make it through his first throwing session in two weeks has to concern club officials.

“I’m not concerned yet, because everything else is super clean,” manager Davey Martinez said. “It’s just this little bit of fluid left. Rotator cuff is good, lat’s good, everything’s good. We’ll see where he’s at in a few days, and then we’ll go from there.”

Even if all does prove fine and Cavalli can resume throwing without issues within the week, the calendar all but guarantees he won’t make it back to pitch this season. For now, the right-hander intends to resume his rehab program as soon as he’s cleared, so he can go into the offseason feeling better about the state of his arm at the end of a season that saw him struggle for a while at Triple-A Rochester before going on a sustained run of dominance that earned him his first call-up to the majors.

“We got some cortisone in it, and we’re just letting it calm down now. But I think I’m going to go into the winter feeling good,” he said. “And if I don’t, we’re going to get it right. I’m not worried. All the results have been really good. I can’t even believe that’s the picture of a pitcher’s shoulder. That’s really good and really positive, that every tendon, every muscle looks really good. There’s just a little bit of inflammation in there that you have to let calm down. You’ve got to let your body take it’s time, and just give it time to heal.”

Cavalli will continue to travel with the Nationals on their upcoming road trip to Atlanta and Miami, rehabbing with the major league medical staff. If he’s able to resume throwing and is cleared to pitch off a mound before season’s end, he’ll do so.

If not, he’ll head into the offseason feeling like he took significant strides in his development this season, even if it only included one big league start.

“There’s a lot of takeaways; I don’t know what the biggest one is,” he said when asked to assess his season in whole. “But I think the way my mind developed and my outlook on how to approach this game, and how to approach getting ready for each start, it grew a ton. I’m very, very excited to take what I’ve learned this year and put it into next year.”

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