By Camille Shooshani
It took 74 pitches for MLB prospect Lucas Giolito ’12 to reach the seventh inning, but only one to take him out for the season. Giolito, who hit 100 mph on two radar guns Feb. 28, left the March 6 Alemany game with a hurt right elbow.
After an MRI informed him he sprained his ulnar collateral ligament, he learned that the 2-1 loss was his last Mission League game.
“I threw one pitch in the last inning of that game and I felt strain in my arm,” Giolito said.
An ulnar collateral ligament sprain results from repetitive stress to the elbow, said athletic trainer Milo Sini.
“It’s a very common injury and happens all the time,” Head Coach Matt LaCour said. “The stress of throwing a baseball is tough on the [ligament] and when you are talking about throwing a baseball 99 to 100 mph, the stress is sometimes too much.”
Despite the loss of at least six to 10 weeks of his senior season, Giolito said injury will not affect him in the long-term. It is currently unclear whether or not he still has potential as a top 10 pick in the draft June 4.
“Scouts all know what [Giolito] is capable of by this point and the injury he has is not something organizations are going to shy from,” LaCour said.
With Giolito and ESPN’s best left-handed high school pitcher, Max Fried ’12, the league title and even a CIF championship seemed within reach for Wolverine baseball. If the team qualifies for CIF playoffs, the Wolverines could be in action as late as June, which could be enough time to see Giolito on the mound again for the Wolverines.
“I’m going to do everything I can from the sidelines to help my team out. We’re still going to have a special year,” Giolito said.
Fried replaced Giolito as the number one pitcher, with Jack Flaherty ’14 and Brandon Deere ’12 closing out the three-man rotation. Closer Hans Hansen ’13 will still lead the bullpen.
With Giolito as a cheerleader, and with Fried on the mound, the Wolverines faced Alemany again Friday in the second game of the series.
The team needed the win after the tough loss Tuesday but the game looked bleak. His team down 2-1 in the seventh inning, LaCour was ejected for arguing a call at third base. With the sun setting quickly, Kenny Grodin ’13 needed to secure a run. Grodin sent Andrew Wallach ’13 home with a pinch-hit double right before the game ended early 2-2 because of darkness.
“It was really important that we tied, but it sucks that we couldn’t [finish],” Grodin said.
On March 10, the team secured a 14-1 win over Santa Barbara in the Chatsworth Tournament. Though LaCour could not coach due to a suspension following his ejection, Deere and Hansen only allowed one hit.
The Wolverines faced Crespi Tuesday, though results were not available at press time and will play them Friday in the second game of the series.