Washington Nationals: Top 5 Images of 2011 - 2. Stephen Strasburg Returns To Action With Hagerstown Suns.

• 8/7/11 [photo caption]: "Washington Nationals' pitcher Stephen Strasburg, playing for the Hagerstown Suns, pitches to the Greensboro Grasshopers in the first inning of a Class A baseball game in Hagerstown, Md., Sunday, Aug. 7, 2011. Strasburg made his first rehabilitation start since undergoing reconstructive elbow surgery in September. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)."

The rain stopped and the tarp came off the infield about an hour before the scheduled start time for Stephen Strasburg's first rehab start on August 7, 2011 at Municipal Stadium in Hagerstown, Maryland. Strasburg, in the Hagerstown Suns' home whites, no. 37, warmed up in the right field "bullpen" in front of a large crowd composed of fans and members of the media who struggled to capture images of the 23-year-old right-hander preparing to step back on the field for the first competitive action since he'd suffered a "significant tear" of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow in August of 2010.

Strasburg was on the mound for just 1.2 IP in which he gave up three hits, one run, one earned, one HR and 0 BB. Strasburg struck out four batters, threw 31 pitches, 25 strikes, and his fastball was in the mid-90's as it had been before the injury. The results didn't matter, all that did was that Strasburg completed his rehab start without any issues. As far as the pitcher was concerned, the most important thing was that he'd made it back and, "I know that I'm pitching in five days," Stephen Strasburg said, happy to be back on the mound and competing, "I really don't know where yet but I'm really looking forward to it."

Strasburg made six minor league starts, and five starts at the major league level, and he's expected to be 100% and ready to go for Spring Training. All that mattered that night was that he was back.

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