Aaron Barrett had Tommy John surgery on Thursday, an expected procedure that will sideline the Nationals reliever through most — if not all — of the 2016 season.
Barrett had been on the disabled list since August 5, when he gave up three runs in one-third of an inning against the Diamondbacks and informed club officials his elbow had been hurting for awhile. It took several weeks and visits to three different doctors, including orthopedist James Andrews, before the consensus opinion was that Barrett needed surgery to replace the torn ulnar collateral ligament.
Recovery time typically is 12-to-18 months, so at best Barrett wouldn't be ready to return until the final month of the 2016 season.
"At this point, you just don't know," manager Matt Williams said. "What we can do is make sure that he gets the proper rehab, which he will get, and get strong again, go through that throwing program that he must go through and then make a determination. But at this point, there's no thought on when or where or how."
Barrett apparently had been pitching in pain for some time. He missed a month earlier in the summer with a biceps strain, and though his performance was better after he returned — he didn't allow a run in nine straight appearances before his final outing — his arm admittedly wasn't 100 percent healthy.
The 27-year-old wound up posting a 4.60 ERA in 40 appearances this year after an impressive rookie season with a 2.66 ERA in 50 games.