Stephen Strasburg, the Washington Nationals pitching phenom whose debut in June electrified the country, has a torn ligament in his elbow and will likely require Tommy John surgery, the team announced this morning.
The surgery "probably" means he will miss all of this season and possibly the entire 2011 season.
Tommy John surgery is named for former major league pitcher Tommy John who first underwent the procedure in 1974. It involves replacing a ligament in the elbow with a tendon from elsewhere in the body. Pitchers can return to top-form after the surgery. John won over 100 games after his operation, and Chris Carpenter recovered from the surgery to be the ace of the St. Louis Cardinals staff. He won 17 games last season, and he’s won 14 already this year.
Strasburg was baseball’s number one draft pick in 2009 and signed a record $15 million dollar contract. The hopes of the franchise which perennially finishes at or near the bottom of the standings ride in great part on his right arm. In his debut on June 9 in front of a sold-out stadium he beat the Pittsburgh Pirates and recorded 14 strikeouts.
The Washington Post has full coverage on today’s news and its impact on a region that was looking to Strasburg as its baseball savior.