Washington Nationals fans rejoice as beloved relief pitcher and Capitol Hill resident Sean Doolittle is remaining in the Nationals organization. The team announced on Sunday that just hours after he became a free agent they have agreed to terms with ‘Dooooooooo’ on a minor league contract with an invitation to 2023 MLB Spring Training.
The 2019 World Series winner returned to the Nats in 2022 after spending one season away with the Cincinnati Reds and Seattle Mariners.
We’ve agreed to terms with Sean Doolittle on a Minor League contract with an invitation to 2023 Major League Spring Training. pic.twitter.com/GKff8O4RFo
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) November 6, 2022
It was a bit of an unfortunate 2022 that started brightly for Doolittle as he found some of his form from past years, striking out six batters in 5.1 innings pitched. He gave up just one hit and no runs in his six relief appearances.
The veteran lefty then sprained his elbow and things went downhill from there. He was placed on the injured list with the sprain, underwent platelet-rich plasma and stem cell injections, and yet was unable to avoid surgery.
To fully fix the root of the issue, he had an internal brace procedure done which repaired his existing ulnar collateral ligament instead of doing the full reconstruction involved in the more well-known Tommy John surgery. It is a less invasive option, which will hopefully allow for a quicker recovery.
— Sean Doolittle (@whatwouldDOOdo) November 4, 2019
Washington originally landed Doolittle in a trade with the Oakland Athletics in July of 2017 as the team sought bullpen help. Doolittle had spent parts of six major league seasons with Oakland including an all-star 2014 that saw him actively chosen to close games for the first time.
The former University of Virginia pitcher warmed to the area quickly and almost immediately became a fan favorite through his play on the field and just generally being an awesome person. Doolittle saved 75 games in 147 total appearances and posted a 3.03 ERA in his first four seasons with the Nats. He was lights out during the Nationals’ 2019 postseason run which included closing out the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers and three scoreless innings and one save in their World Series victory over the Houston Astros.
Doolittle was one of six Nationals players to get shirtless during an ice resurfacer ride while celebrating the Nationals’ championship at a Capitals game. Doolittle and his wife Eireann Dolan later became good friends with then-Caps goaltender Braden Holtby and his wife Brandi.
— Ladies of Nationals Baseball (@LONTDC1) April 7, 2022
May the force be with you, Sean. Hopefully, forever in DC.
Headline photo: Ian Oland/RMNB
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