View Full Version : Nats lose reliever Ayala for season after injury suffered in WBC

03-17-2006, 07:45 PM

By Bill Ladson / MLB.com

VIERA, Fla. -- One day after pitching for Mexico in its final game of the World Baseball Classic, Nationals right-hander Luis Ayala learned Friday that he needs Tommy John surgery and will be out for the entire 2006 season. Ayala will have surgery in two weeks.

In the top of the ninth inning between Mexico and the United States on Thursday, Ayala walked Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez. A few minutes later, the trainer for Mexico came out to check on Ayala, who was taken out of the game.

On Friday morning, Ayala went to see Dr. Lewis Yocum, who discovered that the 28-year-old has an ulnar-collateral ligament sprain in his right elbow. Yocum removed a bone spur from Ayala's right elbow last offseason.

03-17-2006, 07:49 PM
I'm no doctor (my girlfriend is though :)) but it sounds like something that was waiting to happen anyways.

03-17-2006, 08:49 PM
blame it on jim bowden

03-17-2006, 10:29 PM
Seriously, it's a shame though. I was watching the game when it happened. Didn't look serious at the time, but you still don't like seeing serious injuries such as this during an "exhibition" game. Shame for him and for the Nats. Hopefully he makes a full recovery and comes back strong next season. :thumbup:

Reds Nd2
03-17-2006, 10:45 PM
blame it on jim bowden

Sounds like the blame should be put on Luis Ayala. There's more to the article but this is the gist of it.


The news of Ayala needing Tommy John surgery left the Nationals organization upset. Weeks before the World Baseball Classic began, the Nationals, according to team president Tony Tavares, appealed to Major League Baseball twice about not allowing Ayala to play for Mexico, because the club thought his elbow was not strong enough to play in any games in early March. Tavares said both appeals were denied.

MLB officials were traveling to San Diego for the tournament's semifinals and were not immediately available for comment.

Tavares also feels that blame should be placed on Ayala, because he was told by the organization that he was not ready to pitch. Tavares believes Ayala was pressured by his countrymen to play. Ayala was not available for comment on Friday.

"He was strong enough to pitch on the mound [during bullpen sessions], but he wasn't, in my opinion, ready to go into a game," said Nationals trainer Tim Abraham. "He did not face hitters [before he left for the World Baseball Classic]. Just like any other pitcher that comes into our camp, he was ready to throw batting practice, and that is the next step before getting into a game, which he had not done. So was he ready to pitch in a game? Not when he left.

"We cautioned him the whole time. We said, 'Louie, you are coming off surgery. We want you to be healthy for the whole year,' and that's all you can tell him."

Ayala had soreness in the elbow in late February and was contemplating not playing for Mexico. But after a week of rest, Ayala declared himself fit to play catch and throw in the bullpen. After a few of those sessions, Ayala decided at the last minute to represent his country.

While Ayala was away, pitching coach Randy St. Claire said on Wednesday he was concerned for Ayala because the Mexican team was not using him the way the Nationals prescribed. Washington expected him to pitch often, like Chad Cordero and Gary Majewski did for the United States. At that time, Ayala had pitched just one-third of an inning.

"In my view, there are a couple of things: The player should have known better. We told him that the rehab process wouldn't allow him to participate [in the games]," Tavares said. "And then we filed the same information to Major League Baseball, saying we don't want this player to play in the World Baseball Classic because of his surgery. We wanted to bring him along slowly and put him in a strengthening program, and they denied it.

"We then appealed that decision and then sent a doctor's report to go along with it. Major League Baseball made a terrible judgment that resulted in a significant loss to this club. What are they going to do, say, 'I'm sorry'? Sorry doesn't get it."

Chip R
03-17-2006, 10:54 PM
That is a shame that happened. I think Tavares is right that Ayala was pressured to play in the WBC by his countrymen. I also call shenanigans on MLB for turning down the Nats appeal on this. MLB had no problems letting the Yankees dictate who should or should not play in the WBC from their team but even though they own the freaking team, they do nothing for the Nats.

03-17-2006, 10:56 PM
Another spin on the phrase "taking one for the team"

03-17-2006, 11:32 PM
I'm no doctor (my girlfriend is though :)) but it sounds like something that was waiting to happen anyways.

That's exactly what I thought too - these things rarely just happen in one instant.


03-17-2006, 11:58 PM
It might have happened anyway. However, if they were bringing home along slowly and wanting to put him into a strengthening program before putting him into a game situation, the injury would not have been as likely if he were at full strength.

George Foster
03-18-2006, 12:42 AM
I'm no attorney, but I think the Nats have a case for not paying his salary. It did not happen in spring training, and they appealed for him not to play.

03-18-2006, 12:56 AM
Expect Georgy to throw a tantrum next time the WBC comes around and to sight this

03-19-2006, 03:36 AM
This is only a story because of the "WBC" twist.

If Ayala threw out his elbow in a SS squad yesterday against the Astros it would be a line item in the sports ticker and then would fade away into eternity.

Danny Serafini
03-19-2006, 09:46 PM
It's a tad ironic that the team owned by MLB is the one who loses a player due to injury in MLB's little March publicity stunt tournament.

03-19-2006, 10:22 PM
This is an example of why this is a bad, bad idea in the first place. Teams have a lot of money invested in guys to be playing in a freakin' all-star tourney. That is not a risk they take on, yet MLB forces them to let guys play, just like Baltimore.

03-19-2006, 11:35 PM
Why? The WBC is worth any injury risk. The game of baseball is gaining a ton of good publicity from this tournament no matter how much people ripped it before it started.