Sean Burnett, the Washington Nationals' team leader in holds in 2012, revealed to Mark Zuckerman of CSNwashington.com on Saturday that he has been dealing with elbow tightness this season. Per Zuckerman's twitter:
Sean Burnett says he's been dealing with elbow tightness for 6 weeks but isn't worried: "I feel fine pitching."— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) July 14, 2012
Burnett's optimism about the tightness is a good sign, but nevertheless, tightness in the elbow is something that the Nationals training staff will continue to monitor throughout the year.
Burnett has had a great season despite suffering for the last six weeks. He has had to step up in the bullpen for the Nats, who saw their share of injuries and inconsistency early in the season. Burnett has pitched to a 1.97 ERA while striking out 33 batters in 32 innings and allowing seven walks on the season.
His consistency has been a relief for the Nats.
The Nationals were forced to move their 2011 holds leader, Tyler Clippard, to the closer role after Drew Storen's injury and Henry Rodriguez and Brad Lidge's inability to fill the vacant spot in the bullpen. The opportunity has allowed Burnett to excel, primarily in the eighth inning, for Washington.
The tightness is worth monitoring, but as long as Burnett can continue to deal with the discomfort and dominate as he has thus far, the Nationals will continue to be a difficult team to rally against in the late innings.