The 53rd pitch of Stephen Strasburg's August 21, 2010 start against the Philadelphia Phillies is the last pitch the Washington Nationals' '09 no. 1 overall pick has thrown on a Major League mound. An injury, which the Nats believe occurred on that particular pitch, was later diagnosed as a torn ulnar collateral ligament which required Tommy Johnson surgery...
8/21/10: 9:01 pm EST: The Nats' '09 No.1 overall pick, Stephen Strasburg, the best pitching prospect in a decade, is now possibly injured for the second time after being pulled from the game when he showed obvious pain in his arm after throwing a 2-1 change to Phillies' outfielder Domonic Brown in the fifth inning of tonight's game. Immediately upon releasing the pitch, Strasburg winced and jerk his arm back awkwardly, examining the inside of his forearm/elbow for a quick minute, before motioning to the Nats' dugout for Skipper Jim Riggleman, Pitching Coach Steve McCatty and the team's trainer to come out to the mound...
Several days later, D.C. GM Mike Rizzo began a teleconference with reporters with the following announcement:
"After reviewing the MRI Arthrogram last night," Rizzo said, "we've come to the conclusion that Stephen Strasburg has a significant tear of his ulnar collateral ligament that will probably require Tommy John Surgery."
The 22-year-old '09 1st Round pick had made just 12 starts and thrown 68.0 major league innings in which he walked 17 (2.3 BB/9) and struck out 92 (12.2 K/9) following 55.1 IP over 11 starts in the Nats' system during which Strasburg walked just 13 (2.1 BB/9) and struck out 65 (10.6 K/9). In 2009, in his draft year at San Diego State University, Strasburg was (13-1) with a 1.32 ERA, allowing 19 walks (1.57 BB/9) while collecting 195 K's (16.10 K/9) in 109 innings pitched. Then all of a sudden it stopped.
For the second season in a row, the top pitching prospect in the Washington Nationals' system would have Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ligament in his elbow. The announcement was made on the same day Jordan Zimmermann, the top prospect in the Nationals' organization before Strasburg was drafted, returned to the mound for his first major league start since undergoing the procedure himself.
On pretty much the same timetable as Zimmermann before him, Stephen Strasburg returns to competitive action today in Hagerstown, Maryland where he'll thrown two innings or 35 pitches for the Nats' Class-A affiliate, a little under a year after he first suffered the injury to his elbow. The media circus which followed Strasburg's rise to the majors starts again today. The Hagerstown Suns issued a 400-word press release yesterday detailing the rules members of the media must follow this afternoon. The two-inning outing is just the first step in a comeback that could have Stephen Strasburg pitching in the majors late this season.
Today's game starts at 4:00. Federal Baseball.com will be there, check back for updates.