Friday, August 27, 2010

National nightmare: Strasburg needs Tommy John surgery

Stephen Strasburg likely needs Tommy John surgery.

That's a terrible blow to the Washington Nationals' franchise pitcher and to the game of baseball, who counted Strasburg as its most electrifying rookie in recent memory.

It's also a killer for fantasy owners who were counting on Strasburg to be their savior during the stretch run of the season. And even if you aren't close to contending for a championship in 2010, you may have at least been looking forward to keeping Strasburg and building your squad around him next year. Unfortunately, TJ surgery comes with at least a 12- to 18-month recovery process, meaning Strasburg won't be available until 2012.

We saw red flags when the phenom had a DL stint a month ago with shoulder inflammation. Then he came back, made three starts, got pulled from Saturday's game against Philadelphia, and the rest is history. If you were able to capitalize on all the hype and trade Strasburg at his peak value, good for you. If not, I'm sorry.

All we're left with is some impressive 2010 stats (5-3, 2.91 ERA, 92 strikeouts in 68 innings) and the hope that he'll someday realize his potential. Tommy John surgery isn't a death sentence for a career - current aces Chris Carpenter, Francisco Liriano and Josh Johnson have all made successful recoveries in recent years. But all those comebacks took time, and that's what Strasburg needs right now.

Good luck, kid.

Photo by The Associated Press

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