The Nationals expect Cade Cavalli to undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the entire 2023 season

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Cade Cavalli, Washington Nationals right-hander and top pitcher, will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the entire 2023 season, the team announced Thursday. Cavalli suffered the injury at Tuesday’s spring training start. After throwing a pitch, he was obviously uncomfortable and shook his arm as he left the field.

“An MRI revealed he has a grade three ulnar collateral ligament sprain that will require surgery by Tommy John,” Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said in a statement. “While Cade will not be serving in 2023, he continues to be a very important part of the future of our franchise and we look forward to having him back on the hill.”

Here’s Cavalli’s injury:

Cavalli, 24, was the No. 22 pick of the 2020 draft. He made his MLB debut this past August, giving up seven starts in 4 1/3 innings early on. Shortly thereafter, he dropped out due to a shoulder infection. In 20 Triple-A starts prior to his draft, Cavalli had a 3.99 ERA with 104 strikeouts in 97 innings.

Our RJ Anderson didn’t rank Cavalli among the top three prospects at Nationals. ranked him the fourth best prospect in Washington’s system, saying he “sits 95-97 mph with his fastball and is able to touch triple digits” and has a very good slide and switch. Tommy John’s surgery usually comes with a 14- to 16-month rehab, so Cavalli may not return until mid-2024.

Cavalli was favored to earn a spot in Washington’s rotation this spring. Chad Kuhl, who is not on the list, will likely claim that spot now. The Nationals went 55-107 last season and are expected to be one of baseball’s worst teams again this year. Cavalli’s entry into the MLB rotation should be a key part of the club’s rebuild this year.

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