Stephen Strasburg’s Tommy John surgery is a huge setback for the Nationals. Stephen Strasburg’s surgery could also mean that he misses the entire 2011 baseball season. This has to be heartbreaking news for Washington Nationals fans, all of whom had been hoping that Strasburg was set to be the next big thing around baseball. For a few months he was, but now he will have to go through reconstructive Tommy John elbow surgery, and that could be something that derails his baseball career before it even gets started. For a pitcher with so much hope for the game, this is a devastating blow to both Strasburg and the organization.
According to ESPN, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo stated that it was an enhanced MRI taken yesterday that revealed the extent of the injury to Strasburg’s arm. Strasburg has a significant tear in his ulnar collateral ligament, and it is one of the worst injuries that a pitcher can suffer on the mound. Strasburg will of course try to get a second opinion on this situation, like he should, but it seems pretty far-fetched that the Nationals would mess up a diagnosis this severe to one of their best prospects. If it turns out that he is going to require the surgery, it will sideline Strasburg for 12 to 18 months from playing professional baseball.
Strasburg burst on to the scene as the No. 1 overall selection in the 2009 MLB Draft, and quickly expectations far exceeded what anyone thought possible. Strasburg blew through the minor leagues, and the Washington Nationals finally decided to call him up in June. Right away he made a huge impact, showing his power pitches and striking out people with a fastball that at times could hit 100 miles per hour. He was on a pitch count for the season for fear that he might hurt himself and, in the end, it seems that he has done it anyway. Some might blame his mechanics, but sometimes this is just something that happens to hard-throwing pitchers.
Strasburg ends the 2010 season with just 68 innings at the Major League level, all accumulated during his 12 starts. He ended up 5-3 with an impressive 2.91 ERA and 92 strikeouts over that time, but it will be something he has to hang on to during what could be an extensive rehab process.
Losing Strasburg is really going to hurt Nationals tickets sales next season, but hopefully he is able to come back from this injury with a lot of the talent he had before. It would be an extreme tragedy if Strasburg was never able to get back to his former glory.