The 2010 MLB season has been a true classic. No-hitters, perfect games, 22-inning marathon games, and a more exciting rookie class than the game has seen in years. That rookie class is headlined by Stephen Strasburg, the first overall pick from the 2009 draft whose debut in June was one of the most memorable moments of the year.
Last week, the Washington Nationals superstar left his start mid-way through after experienced clear discomfort after throwing a pitch. As he shook off his elbow, a lot of us could tell what was coming.
Today, it was announced that Stephen Strasburg will require the dreaded Tommy John surgery, to essentially replace a ligament in his pitching elbow. The recovery process for Tommy John is generally at least 12-months, though power pitchers like Strasburg often take longer to return to form.
While we all will remain optimistic that Strasburg is able to make a full recovery and return better than ever, from a fan's perspective, this is a huge blow to baseball in general. Strasburg on the mound was an event. His pitching appearances in cities around baseball drew big-time crowds. In just a few months, he has become one of the game's biggest superstars, and missing him likely for all of the the 2011 season is a true shame.
Nationals fans, of course, will take the blow the hardest. Above and beyond missing their star for the season, they'll lose a year of service time on Strasburg. That means one less year of enjoyment before he is likely to leave town for brighter pastures, and let's be honest, probably pinstripes.
Still, if Strasburg can recover fully from Tommy John surgery, he could come back better and stronger than ever. If it can lead to a healthy Strasburg having a full career as a big-league starter, than ultimately baseball fans in general will benefit.