For Washington Nationals fans, the news cannot get much worse regarding Stephen Strasburg. About a month ago we pondered whether or not Nationals fans should be concerned about Strasburg’s shoulder. We came to the conclusion that there was no need to panic just yet. After watching the 22-year-old suffer an elbow injury that is likely going to require Tommy John surgery, Nats fans can feel free to freak out.
According to MLB.com, Strasburg has a significant tear in his ulnar collateral ligament. It was originally thought that he had a flexor strain before he underwent an arthrogram that revealed the bad news. So what does this all mean for Washington and the future of its young phenom?
Remember the old Kerry Wood? Tommy John surgery. How about Erik Bedard and his abbreviated stretch of dominance? Tommy John surgery. Carl Pavano? Tommy John. B.J. Ryan? Tommy John.
In this instance, Strasburg’s age could work with and against him, so it remains to be seen how the injury will affect him. For all the careers that have been hampered by the surgery come a few success stories. Francisco Liriano appears to be coming back into form after his procedure. The Cardinals’ Chris Carpenter missed almost all of 2007 and 2008 and came back to dominate 2009. He looks extremely sharp this year as well. Strasburg’s youth gives him plenty of time to recover and still become an impact pitcher. It also could indicate he’s primed for a career that will be hampered by injuries. Time will tell, but there’s no way of sugar coating it — this is terrible news for the Washington Nationals. They can only hope Bryce Harper the tool bag lives up to the hype.
Strasburg has torn elbow ligament [MLB.com]