Strasburg starts light throwing, may return in September

Washington Nationals’ pitcher Stephen Strasburg pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at Nationals Park on August 15, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch

According to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, Stephen Strasburg has begun some light throwing, which is the first positive sign in his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

Strasburg made the short tosses in Southern California, where he is rehabbing from ligament-replacement surgery, which he underwent Sept. 3. Making his first light throws now, a week before spring training, means Strasburg remains on schedule on his 12- to 18-month road back to the majors.

While recovery time varies from pitcher to pitcher, Zimmermann’s experience sheds some light on when Strasburg may make his next major league appearance. The Nationals treated Zimmermann with extreme caution, and he made his first post-surgery appearance in the majors Aug. 26 last year, about 121/2 months following his August 2009 surgery. Since Strasburg underwent his surgery Sept. 3, he could feasibly return in the middle of September, at the very end of this season.

I’ve read the comments sections of various media outlets and some fans are predicting that Strasburg is the next Kerry Wood or Mark Prior. They say he’s over-hyped and won’t ever fully recover from the surgery.

To those people I would say this: If you’re a true baseball fan, then knock it off. You have the right to your opinion but let’s hope that this kid makes a full recovery because he’s great for the game. Sports need young stars like Strasburg to shine and it’s unfortunate that he’s suffered a bad fate early on. Hey, maybe he is the next Kerry Wood but let’s not wish it.

Thanks to the steroid era, baseball was ruined for almost a decade. Now that it has climbed out of the wreckage, the sport needs its young pitching stars to stay healthy. Baseball got a new lease on life and let’s hope that last season wasn’t just an anomaly.

Here’s hoping Strasburg makes a full and speedy recovery.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

2010 Year-End Sports Review: What We Learned

Years from now, when people look back on 2010, what will they remember as the defining sports moment? Uh, they can only pick one? We discovered that Tiger Woods likes to play the field and that Brett Favre doesn’t mind sending pictures of his anatomy to hot sideline reporters via text message. We found out that LeBron listens to his friends a little too much and that Ben Roethlisberger needed a serious lesson in humility. But we also learned that athletes such as Michael Vick and Josh Hamilton haven’t blown second chance opportunities (or third and fourth chances in the case of Hamilton). It was also nice to see a certain pitcher turn down bigger money so that he can play in a city that he loves.

We’ve done our best to recap the year’s biggest sports stories, staying true to tradition by breaking our Year End Sports Review into three sections: What We Learned, What We Already Knew, and What We Think Might Happen. Up first are the things we learned in 2010, a list that’s littered with scandal, beasts, a Decision and yes, even a little Jenn Sterger.

Contributors: Anthony Stalter, John Paulsen, Paul Costanzo, Drew Ellis and Mike Farley

Tiger Woods gets around.

We hesitate to put this under “golf” because the only clubs involved were his wife’s nine-iron hitting the window of his SUV and the various establishments where Tiger wined and dined all of his mistresses…over a dozen in all. This was the biggest story of the early part of the year, but it got to the point that whenever a new alleged mistress came forward, the general public was like, “Yeah, we get it. Tiger screwed around on his wife. A lot.” He has spent the rest of the year attempting to rebuild his once-squeaky clean image, but it’s safe to say, we’ll never look at Tiger the same way.

Golfer Tiger Woods apologizes for irresponsible and selfish behavior during his first public statement to a small gathering of reporters and friends at the headquarters of the U.S. PGA Tour in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida,on February 19, 2010.   UPI/Sam Greenwood/Pool Photo via Newscom

LeBron wilts when his team needs him most.

Say the words “LeBron” and “Game 5” in the same sentence and NBA fans everywhere know exactly what you’re talking about. In the biggest game of the season, LeBron looked disinterested, going 3-of-14 from the field en route to a 120-88 blowout at home at the hands of the Celtics. There were rumors swirling about a possible relationship between LeBron’s mom and his teammate, Delonte West, and there’s speculation that LeBron got that news before tipoff and that’s why he played so poorly. Regardless of the cause, LeBron played awful in that game, and it turned out to be his swan song in Cleveland as a member of the Cavaliers. Talk about leaving a bitter taste.

You can auction off your talented son’s athletic abilities and get away with it.

The NCAA set a strange precedent this season while dealing with the Newton family. The always inconsistent and completely morally uncorrupt NCAA decided in its infinite wisdom that despite discovering that Cecil Newton shopped his son Cam to Mississippi State for $180,000, and that is a violation of NCAA rules, that Cam would still be eligible because it couldn’t be proven that he knew about it. Conference commissioners and athletic directors around the country spoke out about the decision, while agent-wannabes and greedy fathers everywhere had a light bulb go off in their own heads: As long as we say the player doesn’t know about it, it could go off without a hitch. What was Cecil’s punishment in this whole thing? Limited access to Auburn for the last two games of the season. Easy with that hammer there, NCAA. Read the rest of this entry »

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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