Giolito: Elbow injury no longer an issue
Nationals' first-round pick looking forward to pitching soon
WASHINGTON -- A day after being selected in the first round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft by the Nationals, right-hander Lucas Giolito said his right elbow problems are behind him.
Earlier this year, Giolito, 17, sprained his ulnar collateral nerve in his right elbow, but he doesn't think he will have surgery. He is currently throwing on flat ground.
"I've been throwing hard from 60 feet on flat ground," Giolito said during a conference call with the local media. "I'm looking forward to pitching soon."
Giolito, a 6-foot-6, 230-pound righty, went 9-1 with 78 strikeouts and a 1.00 ERA in 70 1/3 innings as a junior at Harvard-Westlake. He also threw three shutouts and tossed four complete games. As a result, he was named a Perfect Game All-American for 2011. The Nationals have compared Giolito to Phillies right-hander Roy Halladay.
"I like to throw my fastball inside and bust people in, and maybe come back with my curveball," Giolito said. "I throw my changeup a lot. That is obviously a tool I'll be able to use. It's a combination of everything to be able to attack hitters and do everything I can to help the team win."
If not for the injury, Giolito would have been a higher pick in the Draft.
"I had no idea where I was going to go on the board," Giolito said. "I was sitting there. I was concerned about family and close friends. It was really a surprise to be taken by such a great organization. Right when it happened, it kind of struck me. It was such an awesome moment."
Giolito's mother is actress Lindsay Frost, but Giolito never thought about following in her footsteps. For someone who admires Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander and Nationals right hander Stephen Strasburg, baseball was always on his mind.
"It's never been something that I've been interested in," Giolito said about acting.
The Nationals have until next month to get Giolito signed to a pro contract. He already has made a commitment to play for UCLA. For Giolito, the 16th overall pick is valued at $2,125,000.
"Right now, I plan to play pro ball, but ... UCLA is one of the best baseball programs in all of college baseball," Giolito said. "UCLA is an option for me, and we'll see how everything works out."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.