Tommy John surgery- ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction surgery on the elbow named after former Dodger pitcher, Tommy John who was the first to have the surgery in 1974.
The word ‘surgery’ is just a scary word and then on Friday we heard surgery and Strasburg in the same sentence. National fans had to take a deep breath and accept that maybe those three words are no longer a death sentence for pitchers or teams.
Stephen Strasburg was a gift to the Washington Nationals from the baseball gods with efforts to replace the mascot/president’s race -that’s announced as the ‘main event’ to highlight the baseball game as the main reason for dealing with DC traffic to attend a Nationals game.
On Thursday, the Nationals first pick in the 2010 draft, Bryce Harper- at 17 year-old who has the talent and hype of Strasburg, showed off his Nationals jersey for the first time at Nationals Park. The Nationals also beat the Cardinals after 13 innings 11-10. But most of the public didn’t hear about these highlights as the shock of Strasburg claimed the headlines.
The Nationals are in 5th place in their division for the 5th time in the past six years. At this point not even Strasburg’s nasty curve could give the Nationals a chance to contend for a 2010 wildcard.
So how did this happen? Strasburg was carefully monitored and we haven’t heard any stories about rookie hazing. The Nationals did everything by the book to protect their $15.1 million dollar investment. But we continue to learn that innings pitched and pitch counts are not highly related to this injury, just ask Nolan Ryan who pushes his pitchers to pitch more than most teams. There’s the argument that pitchers come back a better pitcher post-surgery which could only mean that pitching injuries come down to pitching mechanics. Have you ever watched a pitcher in slow motion or viewed pictures of a pitcher pitching? The range of motion isn’t what most of us consider a normal movement and the facial expressions give a whole new meaning to the “Scheyer face”.
But maybe there’s some good to come out of this situation… We all witnessed LeBron talk about how he couldn’t win a championship alone, maybe this is a sign from the baseball gods letting us know that even Strasburg can’t win alone. With Bryce Harper on track to make a 2012 appearance in the show, giving Strasburg time to recover and Harper a year in minors- get your popcorn ready; we could be in for some real fireworks in the Nations Capital in 2012.