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Setback for Flores

Mar 10, 2010, 4:16 PM EST

[UPDATED AT 12:41 P.M.]

JUPITER, Fla. — Catcher Jesus Flores, still struggling to get his surgically repaired right shoulder back into shape, has left Nationals camp and will spend the next 10-to-14 days at orthopedist James Andrews' clinic in Birmingham, Ala.

Flores, who missed most of last season due to a compounding list of shoulder injuries, had surgery in September to repair a torn labrum. He arrived in Viera this spring hopeful of getting his arm back into shape in time to start the season, but it quickly became obvious he wouldn't meet that goal.

So far, Flores has only played catch from up to 120 feet and hasn't made the kind of progress he or the club expected.

"His arm is just not feeling real good," manager Jim Riggleman said. "He's tossing a little bit, it's aching, just not feeling right. We'll see if we can send him up there and let that stuff up there work with him, evaluate him and put him through tests, so he won't be with us for 10 days, two weeks."

Once he returns from Birmingham, Flores will have to re-start his throwing program from scratch, ensuring he'll have to open the season on the disabled list.

"I don't know how he couldn't at this point," Riggleman said. "No, we couldn't get him enough games to be ready for the season."

Ivan Rodriguez, signed to a two-year, $6 million contract in December in part as insurance in case Flores was slow to recover, will get the bulk of the playing time behind the plate once the season begins. Veteran Wil Nieves is likely to be Rodriguez's backup. GeneralRead more ยป

  1. Anonymous - Mar 10, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    I wish I could say this was a shock.

  2. Section 222 - Mar 10, 2010 at 4:48 PM

    Very sad to hear this, but it's not a surprise. Not to be a broken record, but it's a darn shame that his injury last year wasn't correctely diagnosed sooner. He may very well have aggravated it by "working it back into shape" over the summer and doing the minor league rehab stint. It was never realistic that he would be back from labrum surgery in six months.

  3. TBC - Mar 10, 2010 at 4:54 PM

    Looks like Flores's 2010 season is going to resemble Nick Johnson's 2007 season. One step forward, one step back. Slowly increasing to 1.1 steps forward, 1.2 steps forward, etc, until he comes back ready to compete for a job in spring training 2011, like Nick did in ST 2008. That's got to be the best case scenario at this point. Let's hope Pudge manages to put together a 2010 season equal to Dmitri Young's 2007 so that there's actually a competition at catcher next spring. Worst case scenario now would be for Pudge to get hurt.

  4. Steve M. - Mar 10, 2010 at 4:57 PM

    Mark, isn't pain part of the recovery? It just seems that it is mind over matter with JFlo and he needs to get a thumbs up from Doc Andrews and put himself in a positive frame of mind. My observations of seeing JFlo in Florida was a guy who is hurting and it is tough to watch as he was such a positive happy guy in 2008.I wish him luck and seriously, positive thoughts mi amigo!

  5. natsfan1a - Mar 10, 2010 at 5:00 PM

    Not surprised at this development, either, and I agree with sec 222 re. diagnosis delays. I feel for the kid, really.

  6. peric - Mar 10, 2010 at 5:02 PM

    Keep in mind: Wang and Olsen also with shoulder injuries.

  7. Nervous Nats Fan - Mar 10, 2010 at 5:08 PM

    Do you think there's any chance that if he's able to come back this year, they will try Flo at other positions (maybe 1st base?) to alleviate some of the stress from his shoulder? He's pretty young to have so many problems already, and so it seems unlikely that he'll have a very long career at catcher.

  8. Farid - Mar 10, 2010 at 5:15 PM

    I don't think this story is going to have a happy ending, and it's such a shame because Flores is such a fine young manI think that whole "what do we do with Derek Norris and Jesus Flores" quesetion has been pretty much settled.

  9. MikeHarris - Mar 10, 2010 at 5:22 PM

    Or Harper just became a lot more attractive as a top draft choice.I've convinced myself that Flores will not play in 2010.

  10. markfd - Mar 10, 2010 at 5:53 PM

    This is a shame after all of the hard work Jesus has done over the off-season to have this setback, BUT that being said it is early enough in the year that 2010 IMHO is not a write off for him. I imagaine Riz and Riggs will examine getting Derek Norris into some more Spring Training games so they can figure out where he needs to be placed in the minors so that he could be ready if needed in 2011 or 2012? MikeHarris – I am sure Boras has noted this setback and his asking price for Harper just went up!

  11. Section 222 - Mar 10, 2010 at 5:53 PM

    Not only Wang and Olsen, but also Guzman. The Nats definitely have shoulder issues. Of course, not all shoulder injuries are created equal. It might be interesting to talk to a team doctor about how the injuries compare, how the rehab programs are designed, etc. I think Olsen's injury was a labrum tear, but my impression is that it was a much less serious injuy than Flores'. Is that because it was a smaller tear, or in a different tear or what?

  12. Neato Torpedo - Mar 10, 2010 at 6:00 PM

    Dammit. I lurrrrve the Jesus Flowers. He was a real bright spot for the future. Now, I wonder if we need to heal him and deal him. Norris will be ready for next season, and it's not like Pudge and WHO?!? are our weakest link.

  13. natsfan1a - Mar 10, 2010 at 6:06 PM

    I think Ryan Zimmerman had a labrum tear as well, but did not have surgery?

  14. natscan reduxit - Mar 10, 2010 at 7:09 PM

    … and I thought Nicky J was snake-bit !!??!!

  15. Steve M. - Mar 10, 2010 at 7:15 PM

    Flores was a SLAP repair. Zim had a slight labral tear that healed up based on rest and good rehab and strength training on the shoulder.Why is everyone so pessimistic on JFlo? I for one don't see this as a Nicky J. persistence of breaking down and I see JFlo making a return to the lineup at the middle to end of May after a stint in the Minors.

  16. Sasskuash - Mar 10, 2010 at 7:25 PM

    Can't find the link right now, but Harper might not stay at catcher for long. Some scouts say he is already too big for the position, and he's young enough he might still be growing.

  17. cadeck13 - Mar 10, 2010 at 7:44 PM

    Sheeesh, didn't Chad Cordero have shoulder surgery too? and his injury wasn't immediately diagnosed either. I remember his velocity was way down and they kept bringing him out. At the time, Ray Knight was the only one who kept saying the loss of velocity had to be injury related and he couldn't understand why they kept letting him pitch. This is just a real shame for Jesus. I hope this gets straighted out for him real soon.

  18. Steve M. - Mar 10, 2010 at 7:47 PM

    Hello Mark Zuckerman. Did Mike Rizzo really make this quote this morning talking about Spring Training? "We shouldnt even keep score or keep stats as far as I am concerned. I am not concerned whatsoever with our won/loss record or with the performance of our players."If I take out the part about the won/loss record then here is the statement, "I'm not concerned whatsoever with the performance of our players."How can a talent evaluator make that statement? Does that mean he has his 25 man roster set? Seriously, I am blown away by this.

  19. TBC - Mar 10, 2010 at 7:50 PM

    I read Rizzo's comment to say that he is not worried about the performance of his players, not that he doesn't care about it.

  20. Anonymous - Mar 10, 2010 at 7:56 PM

    Neato Torpedo,I'm optimistic about Norris as well, but let's see how he does in higher than A ball before we pencil him in for next year.It's great to be positive, but I think alot of the cynical backlash against the Nationals is driven by grossly overestimating young players. For example, Ian Desmond was verging on bust until last year, but now people talk about him as the Nationals SS of the future. All I'm saying is that there is a middle ground between viewing Flores as a potential all-star and treating Chico as chopped liver.

  21. Anonymous - Mar 10, 2010 at 7:59 PM

    Steve,What should he say? His point is that he believes in the talent of his players and the fact that some may be struggling does not concern him.Plus, there is almost no link between spring training performance and regular season performance, and only a small one if your spring OPS is a few hundred points higher than the previous season.

  22. Steve M. - Mar 10, 2010 at 8:04 PM

    So he [Rizzo] is not concerned with Justin Maxwell who is a big O-fer and Chris Duncan who is fairly close to that so far this Spring or the projected 5 starters and Tyler Walker that look like cr-p.If Rizzo is fine with the performance then who I am to say. I just hope the guy out there like Desmond, Morse, and Bernandina who are 3 on the bubble players based on what we have seen so far get a fair shake in Mr. Rizzo's performance evaluation department because I go by what I have seen so far and it ain't looking like a 75 win team out there.Just saying with my .02

  23. Steve M. - Mar 10, 2010 at 9:19 PM

    I have to update my 3:04 statement. Maxwell is now 1 for 13 and now batting .077 so glad my push helped ;-)

  24. Bote Man - Mar 11, 2010 at 12:19 AM

    Is it me or does Dr. James Andrews look like the Dr. Jack Kevorkian of Nationals players' careers?

  25. alexva - Mar 11, 2010 at 8:23 PM

    No more Jesus to Jesus battery hopes

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