Young Pitching Star Faces Lengthy Layoff

Awful news for promising Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg, as the 22 year-old has a torn elbow ligament and will likely have Tommy John surgery.

Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said an MRI on the right elbow revealed a “significant tear.”

Strasburg will look to get a second opinion, but Nationals management is expecting the young right-hander will need the operation. An operation which requires 12 to 18 months of rehab.

Strasburg was pulled from last Saturday’s game in Philadelphia after he grimaced in pain after throwing a changeup to Phillies right fielder Domonic Brown. The Nationals originally called the injury a strained flexor tendon in the forearm, but an MRI taken Sunday raised enough questions for the Nationals to order a more extensive MRI.

Strasburg was the first overall selection in 2009, signing a record $15.1-million contract last year. In his major league debut in June, he struck out 14 batters.

But Strasburg has suffered from injuries this season. The Nationals put him on the disabled list last month because of inflammation in his right shoulder. In all, he only made three starts after coming off the DL.

Full story.

Nearly two-hundred major leaguers (mostly pitchers) have had Ulnar Collateral Ligament Reconstruction (UCLR), or as it’s commonly known, Tommy John surgery. The surgery is named after (unsurprisingly) Tommy John, a pitcher who became the first professional athlete to successfully undergo the operation. Dr. Frank Jobe performed the surgery in 1974.  

More details on Tommy John surgery.

Seen as a career saving procedure, Tommy John surgery is believed to be one of the major advancements in sports medicine in the last quarter century.

– with files from the Associated Press

Photo: mlb.com

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