The Nationals announced that reliever Roenis Elías is being placed on the 60-day injured list due to a left elbow flexor strain. Because the move is retroactive to July 13, Elías could be activated in 45 days.
But a flexor strain is an injury that can sometimes be a precursor to Tommy John surgery, which would keep a pitcher out of action for over 12 months. So Elías and the Nats are being extremely cautious in monitoring this injury. They will rehab the elbow in hopes that Elías can bounce back and return during the final month of the season.
“He threw yesterday and he didn’t feel right,” Martinez said during a postgame video call. “Got an MRI today and it was a flexor strain. We are going to be cautious and he’s going to be out for awhile.”
Elías was acquired from the Seattle Mariners on July 31, 2019, along with right-hander Hunter Strickland for three pitchers - left-handers Aaron Fletcher and Taylor Guilbeau and right-hander Elvis Alvarado. But Elías was placed on the 10-day injured list Aug. 4 with a right hamstring strain while running to first base in a game at Arizona. He ended up making only four appearances for the Nats last season.
“He’s had all kinds of bad luck,” Martinez said. “I tell him all the time, ‘Hey look, when you are healthy, you are going to help us. We got to get you healthy. That’s the biggest thing. You got to do everything the trainers and medical staff say now to get you back as quick as possible.’ He’s a left-handed pitcher that pitched in the back end of the bullpen for Seattle that, when he’s healthy, he gets big outs.”
General manager Mike Rizzo made a point when the 30-man roster was announced last week that Elías and right-hander Wander Suero are very important pieces in the Nats’ 2020 bullpen, but they just needed to be stretched out and build some innings at the alternate stadium before being activated.