Strasburg likely to have Tommy John surgery, Nationals clearly cursed

Washington Nationals' pitcher Stephen Strasburg reacts in the dugout during the fourth inning against the Florida Marlins' at Nationals Park in Washington on August, 10 2010.  UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

In the young history of the Washington Nationals franchise, the club has never had a winning season, has never come close to a playoff berth and has never finished above fourth place in the NL East.

When the Nats drafted phenom Stephen Strasburg with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft, there was suddenly hope on the horizon. And actually with the way the team had been compiling young talent in previous years, Strasburg only cemented the hope that was already there.

You know the rest. When Strasburg was called up earlier this season, he dazzled fans and flustered big league hitters with his outstanding stuff. He got hurt, came back, and then got hurt again.

Now GM Mike Rizzo admits that the young pitcher likely needs Tommy John surgery to repair a significant UCL tear in his pitching elbow. I could go into details, but why bother? The biggest takeaway is that Strasburg’s rookie season is over and it’s very likely that his 2011 campaign is done too, well before it had the chance to start.

It’s a massive blow for a franchise that doesn’t deserve any more sports heartache. Last August, Jordan Zimmermann (who was the team’s top pitching prospect before Strasburg came along) also had to undergo elbow reconstruction surgery and it took him a little over a year to return. Now Nats’ fans have to deal with Strasburg’s injury, just months after the club drafted another phenom in outfielder Bryce Harper.

The future is still very bright in Washington, as Strasburg will eventually come back and Harper will eventually be called up. But considering fans will have to continue to remain patient before seeing these two potential stars play together is a shame.

Whose dog did owner Ted Lerner kick for all the bad luck that this club has had to endure over the years?

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