WASHINGTON -- The heartwarming comeback of pitcher Juan Nicasio has become a story of knee-aching frustration. Nicasio will undergo arthroscopic surgery on July 16 to remove a "floating body" from his left knee, the Rockies announced Friday. Nicasio (2-3, 5.28 ERA in 11 starts) has not pitched since suffering a left knee strain June 2 while trying to field a hard-hit ball back through the pitcher's mound against the Dodgers. Twice since then he has had fluid drained from the knee, the latest time being Wednesday night. Last August, Nicasio was hit in the head by a line drive from the Nationals' Ian Desmond and suffered a broken neck when he tumbled to the mound. Against expectations, Nicasio made the season-opening starting rotation. However, early-season struggles and the injury have interrupted his inspiring story.
When Nicasio will return is uncertain. Manager Jim Tracy said much depends on whether doctors discover other damage during surgery. "Once they get in there and remove that body and he gets through the recovery period, we'll start moving in the direction of trying to get him back to the mound between now and season's end," Tracy said. The development of a new injury just as he thought he was close to a return left Nicasio frustrated. "When I'm throwing, I feel good," Nicasio said. "But the doctor said [surgery is] better because I don't want to hurt my shoulder [by changing motions] or my leg. "I don't want to say it's easy, but I know I'll be able to come back. But I came back from my neck. I'm not happy because it's a lot of things for me, but I still thank God for everything."