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The plan for Marquis

Apr 23, 2010, 1:52 PM EDT

I know a lot of you were surprised to find out last night that Jason Marquis won't need surgery to remove the "floating bodies" in his right elbow. Frankly, I was surprised, too. I figured it was a foregone conclusion he'd have the procedure, miss a couple months and then get back on the mound sometime this summer.

Instead, Marquis received a cortisone shot. He'll be restricted from throwing for seven-to-10 days. Then he'll resume a throwing program, the hope being he can return to pitch in six weeks.

A couple of things to note, however…

– Marquis will need surgery at some point to remove the stuff. The hope would be that he can pitch his way through it for the rest of the season and then have surgery over the winter.

– There's no guarantee he can actually pitch with the stuff in there.

Craig Stammen tried to pitch last season with bone chips, and while the rookie right-hander did an admirable job for a while, eventually the pain became too much to bear. It also prevented him from throwing an effective curveball, and we've learned this spring howRead more ยป

  1. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2010 at 2:07 PM

    I feel bad for the guy, but also relieved at the thought we don't have to go through the torment of watching him struggle through it every 5 days in April and May. Last Sunday's game was painful enough. I prefer watching rookies come up and struggle (with the hope that 1-2 of them will be a surprise) than watching a veteran try to cling to the end of a career. Set the Marquis drama aside, accept it as a gamble that didn't pay off, and move on.

  2. Capitol Baseball - Apr 23, 2010 at 2:23 PM

    I have a lot of respect for Marquis, but his disastrous 3 outings thus far this year shows that something is seriously wrong. I hope that the cortisone shot does more than we all expect it too, but it doesn't seem likely. Any time something is wrong with the throwing elbow, it seems unlikely that a pitcher could come out unscathed. I would say maybe they're trying to get him to eat innings until someone (i.e. Strasburg) can come up from the minors, but if he's out for 6 weeks, I hardly see the point. It seems that from the outsider perspective, it would be smarter to just realize he's hurt, get him the surgery, and try to get him back. At that point, if he's not the same, cut the losses and move along with what we've got.

  3. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2010 at 2:29 PM

    Geez, with the way he performed at the end of last season and this spring training, you would have thought that they would have been aware of this sooner and done something about it before now. They paid this guy an awful lot of money to end up either losing him for the season, or in the alternative having him pitch hurt. Particularly, when it seems they should have known about this much, much earlier.

  4. Mark Zuckerman - Apr 23, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    One other point I should have made in the above posting … Some people are wondering why the bone chips/floating bodies didn't show up when the Nats gave Marquis a physical upon his signing. In most cases, players don't undergo MRIs when taking a routine physical. It generally only happens when there's reason to believe something might be wrong. In Marquis' case, there was no previous problem, he had never complained about elbow pain before and he had one of the most durable track records in baseball.

  5. Nervous Nats Fan - Apr 23, 2010 at 2:36 PM

    How long would he be out if he had the surgery to remove the bone chips? It seems like if 8 weeks would fix it or 6 weeks would maybe let him pitch a little, it would be better to just suck it up and have the surgery. Or is the surgery not a perfect solution/could make it worse?

  6. Aeoliano - Apr 23, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    Per Mark's comment above:I suspect it is Marquis' decision to have the Cortisone shot instead of surgery. He, like we, know he is one of the highest paid guys on the staff and right now the contract he signed is not looking good. Nor is his credibility to a lot of people in baseball. He was supposed to come in and be the veteran presence that was lacking on the starting pitching staff last year at this time. Fortunately, Livo Hernandez has provided that and then some. Along with Capps and Bruney. Perhaps that has made Marquis superfluous and really no longer necessary?

  7. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2010 at 3:04 PM

    Interesting that even optimistically he should be ready to pitch again by early June. Isn't that the time we expect Jesus and Wang? Should we expect him to go under the knife at that time if Wang is healthy?

  8. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2010 at 3:06 PM

    superfluous and no longer necessary? sounds like a job for a department of redundancy department job.i'm glad at least for marquis that he has a legit explanation for being so bad, because he was clearly feeling awful about his performance. hope he can work it out for everyone's sake.

  9. Souldrummer - Apr 23, 2010 at 3:06 PM

    We're on the hook for two years of Marquis. That's why I think it's important that he take as much time as needed to get well. The focus should be on credibility for '10 and contending for '11. This feels so much like Wang, the ground ball specialist trying to gut it out with the Yankees and pitching when he wasn't well. It set him back, and doomed him his next free agent go 'round. I feel that Marquis should be using the security of a two year deal to focus on doing what's best for his long term future.Supposedly we have all of this organizational depth so that we have guys who are worth a shot at getting a look in the majors. Atilano, JD Martin, and Thompson are all guys who may have some spot start potential while we are waiting for Strasburg. Then there's the Wang, Detweiler wave after that. To say nothing of guys who have had a major league experience like Chico, Balester, and Martis. Don't think that last group has much to offer but we are not going to be embarassed in the short term by not pitching guys who are less than 100%.

  10. Section 222 - Apr 23, 2010 at 3:29 PM

    What's the over/under on seeing a post here in in mid July with the title: "The (New) Plan for Marquis"? It might start something like this:"I know a lot of you were surprised to find out back in April that Jason Marquis wouldn't need surgery to remove the "floating bodies" in his right elbow. Well, now he does. After two mediocre comeback outings in which he gave up 11 runs in 11 innings, Marquis reported continued elbow pain. He is now scheduled to go under the knife tomorrow in Cincinnati, and is likely out for the season." Great. Just great.

  11. natsfan reduxit - Apr 23, 2010 at 3:30 PM

    "In most cases, players don't undergo MRIs when taking a routine physical."… I realize that such procedures are expensive, but this is a multi-million dollar outfit we're talking about here. Seems reasonable to me that in the off-season or in spring, everyone, especially every pitcher, should have a diagnostic MRI done on their relevant body part – in the case of a pitcher, at least on their elbow and shoulder – if for no other reason that to ensure no 'surprises' begin to float to the surface.Long Live Livo! Go Nats!!

  12. Souldrummer - Apr 23, 2010 at 3:36 PM

    Eh, you move on. I don't hate the Marquis signing. My biggest worry is that the Lerners will bring it up in Rizzo's face and say, "You wasted my money! No more free agents for you!" On the whole, Pudge, Livo's return, and the revamped bullpen have given me more than enough hope for awhile. Caps have my focus for now, but I went to yesterday's game and I feel we could have won that game had we started Hammer and benched Dunn. I guess part of giving players a rest is giving them a rest from uncomfortable at bats that hurt their value come contract time.

  13. Ed - Apr 23, 2010 at 3:57 PM

    Have the surgery NOW. Cortisone isn't going to do anything but delay the inevitable. With the way the team is supporting good pitching (on days when we have it) it is more the shame that Lerners didn't pursue more veteran pitching in the offseason. I know Jon Garland wanted to stay on West coast, so you overpay to get him here. He's 1-2, ERA 2.86. Swap that out for any of our +5 ERA pitchers and we may have another win or two. Always been a Livo fan since day 1. He'll have his ups and downs but he's a horse in a stable of ponies and mares.

  14. Doc - Apr 23, 2010 at 4:06 PM

    As has been commented on above, a $2,000 MRI vs. $15 mill contract! Even if Rizzo isn't smart enough to understand that, the Learners are!!! Betcha there's more arm pathology there than bone chips, which in any event will continue to plague Marquis, cortisone, or no cortisone. Nats have been had, in spades!

  15. Souldrummer - Apr 23, 2010 at 4:13 PM

    How much would Garland have cost? Is he the difference to get us to the playoffs? I'm more concerned about the RF situation than the starting pitching. Marquis was a respectable move that should have delivered better results. Livo is a respectable move that is delivering awesome results. Let's hope one of our kids steps up and takes advantage of the opportunity and I'll be closely following tonight's start (clicking over from the Caps game) and plan to head to the park tomorrow. Went to yesterday's game and sat in the bleachers. Would have liked a win, but enjoyed watching the Bugs Bunny curve balls Livo through.

  16. Jeeves - Apr 23, 2010 at 4:18 PM

    Might Marquis have been suspicious that there might be a problem before he signed the big contract? Of course not. It's just a coincidence?

  17. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2010 at 4:46 PM

    "In most cases, players don't undergo MRIs when taking a routine physical."… I realize that such procedures are expensive, but this is a multi-million dollar outfit we're talking about here. Seems reasonable to me that in the off-season or in spring, everyone, especially every pitcher, should have a diagnostic MRI done on their relevant body part – in the case of a pitcher, at least on their elbow and shoulder – if for no other reason that to ensure no 'surprises' begin to float to the surface.I seriously doubt that the Players Union would ever stand for something like this being included in the standard player contract. An MRI can turn up lots of things that may or may not end up becoming problems, and giving every player an MRI as a standard condition of his contract would be seen as a way for the owners to hold salaries down any time some anomaly shows up. I haven't read the CBA, but I'd be willing to bet that there's langauge in it that gives specific conditions under which a team can go beyond a standard physical examination before signing a free agent contract. Such conditions might be something like number of days spent on the DL during the course of his career, prior surgeries, etc, which would justify taking a closer look with more advanced tests. From what I've heard, Marquis has rarely if ever missed a turn during his career, which would have made it difficult for any team wanting to sign him to require an MRI or other such test.

  18. Avar - Apr 23, 2010 at 5:00 PM

    222 nailed it. How does a shot of anything address free floating bodies??? We have at least three strong prospects for SP help in June when Marquis will be "back" from this plan. I don't see what we're gaining by this. Get the surgery now and start re-habbing. He's on a two year deal. Better to lose half a season now that a whole season later. Very frustrated w/ this.

  19. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2010 at 5:10 PM

    If he gets the surgery now, by the time he's done with the recovery and rehab he's probably out for the season anyway. If he can come back and pitch in six weeks or so, though, there's a chance he could make it through the season before he gets the surgery, and if he has it in October he'll be back in time for spring training next year. How effective he'll be if/when he pitches without the surgery is an open question, but it's not like he's doing further damage to his arm if he pitches. It's the same situation as Stammen last year – and look at him now.

  20. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2010 at 5:22 PM

    Exactly, look at Stammen. He pitched worse and worse last year, until finally needing to be shut down. Why wait? The fact that Marquis is not having the surgery now leads me to believe that there's more to this than we know. After all, they've been hiding this since spring training, claiming that there's nothing wrong with him. What else are they hiding?

  21. dale - Apr 23, 2010 at 5:42 PM

    The Marquis era here is an example of not wanting to believe what your eyes tell you. Marquis is guilty of obscuring the obvious–he was not ready to pitch effectively this season while blaming it on "mechanics" all spring training. And so excuses were made for him by the front office and coaches. The MRI result was a relief to me and I believe to the National's management as well, giving them cover for having played Marquis when he was not effective.It is certainly time to move on and to put a minor league arm into the lineup that improves upon the 0.00 probability of a win that Marquis would have given us if he was pitching tonight. I will certainly cheer for Atilano tonight and I am sure the Nationals will play without the helpless feeling of playing out of the hole that Marquis would have dug for them. Hopefully, the spotlight will be shifted next to Olsen to produce or be replaced.

  22. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2010 at 6:03 PM

    This is BS, I believe the Nats have made up this whole "floating bodies" BS to bury him on the DL because he is underperforming. Fake inuries like this are not in the spirit of the game and MLB should investigate the Nats immediately for fraud.

  23. Section 222 - Apr 23, 2010 at 6:24 PM

    At least we learned one thing in this episode — Steve "I think the problem is more mental" McCatty knows squat about diagnosing the causes of poor pitching.

  24. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2010 at 6:57 PM

    "After all, they've been hiding this since spring training, claiming that there's nothing wrong with him. What else are they hiding?"No, they have not been hiding it, Marquis has been hiding it. Every time he was asked if he was hurting, he said no. Until finally, after throwing his bullpen session the other day, he admitted it. Maybe Marquis was lying all along, but you can't implicate the team on that.

  25. OutsideTheLaw - Apr 23, 2010 at 7:23 PM

    I'm now operating on the premise that he is out/done for the season and that the contract money is wasted. If he gets to 5 wins this season I'll be surprised. Forget about him, let's move on.

  26. Slidell - Apr 23, 2010 at 7:43 PM

    Livo would have won yesterday given minimal run support. Just his bad luck to come up against a phenom. No shame there.As far as Marquis is concerned, it can be seen as a good thing that they found a medical problem. If they hadn't; (1) the prognosis would have been that he's simply "washed up" (2)it allows the Nats to DL him, giving them time to ponder the next step without him being a dead weight occupying a roster spot. Can't say that I'm optimistic that this will turn out well.

  27. cadeck13 - Apr 23, 2010 at 8:02 PM

    This is a real shame. Can he mentor from the bench? At least Livo's minor league deal is looking brilliant long about now. I hope this doesn't deter the FO for FA in the future…..

  28. Doc - Apr 23, 2010 at 8:06 PM

    I don't blame Marquis as much as the Nats braintrust (now there's an oxymoron). They should have carried out their 'executive' duties to a more responsible degree. BSing the fans is their most accepted role.

  29. Dave - Apr 23, 2010 at 8:35 PM

    If Marquis lied to all and sundry about his condition, how can you blame those to whom he lied? I don't get it.

  30. Anonymous - Apr 23, 2010 at 11:11 PM

    I'm going to look at this in the most optimistic way possible. Livan is pitching like an ace right now, and Marquis pitched terribly before going down with injuries. But what if the contracts were switched? I doubt anyone would be complaining overmuch, even if the results were exactly the same. So why not make believe?

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