Feb 25, 2010, 1:12 AM EST
VIERA, Fla. — Craig Stammen first noticed the pain in his right elbow sometime last spring, back when he was still pitching in minor-league camp, with little reason to believe he'd wind up throwing more innings for the Nationals than anyone not named John Lannan.
At first, it was just some discomfort, especially on the days after he pitched. But over the course of weeks and months, it developed into a constant throbbing, to the point where Stammen knew this was more than typical aches and pains.
"I knew something was going on," he said. "But I knew this was my opportunity to make the team. So I wasn't going to say anything."
So the young right-hander kept on pitching. By the time August came to a close, he had made 19 starts with the Nationals, thrown 105 2/3 innings, beaten the Yankees in the Bronx, tossed a complete game against the Astros and racked up more big-league experience anyone ever expected from a guy who five months earlier wasn't on anyone's radar screen.
And then the pain became too much to bear anymore, so Stammen informed his coaches and his trainers the extent of the pain. Worried the injury could be something serious, maybe even a torn ligament, the rookie was relieved to learn it was merely the product of someRead more »
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