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Nationals prospect Cade Cavalli needs Tommy John surgery

MLB: Spring Training-Washington Nationals at New York Mets

Mar 14, 2023; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Cade Cavalli (54) leaves the field after a apparent injury against the New York Mets during the third inning at Clover Park. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Washington Nationals pitching prospect Cade Cavalli needs Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery and will miss the 2023 season, general manager Mike Rizzo said.

The team released a statement from Rizzo saying that an MRI exam showed that Cavalli sprained his ulnar collateral ligament.

The right-hander exited a spring training start against the New York Mets after 2 2/3 innings.

“While Cade will not pitch in 2023, he continues to be a very important part of our franchise’s future and we look forward to having him back on the mound,” Rizzo said. “We will provide an update on his surgery when it is available.”

The 24-year-old Cavalli was the No. 22 overall pick in the 2020 amateur draft after playing college baseball at Oklahoma. He made his major league debut in August against the Cincinnati Reds, then felt something in his shoulder while playing catch the next day and was shut down for the rest of last season.

He had been expected to be part of Washington’s starting rotation this season as the club continues to try to rebuild. Since winning the 2019 World Series, the Nationals have finished in last place in the NL East three years in a row.