Nationals’ Strasburg has torn ligament, expected to need Tommy John surgery, could miss 2011 season

Stephen Strasburg walks off to a standing ovation after one of his 14 strikeouts during his major league debut against Pittsburgh June 8. Photo by Mike Frandsen

The Washington Nationals announced Friday that rookie phenom Stephen Strasburg has a significantly torn ligament in his right elbow and is expected to undergo Tommy John surgery. The surgery would most likely sideline Strasburg for 2011 season although it is possible he could return late in the year.

Strasburg, called one of the best pitching prospects in history, finished his rookie season with a record of 5-3, an ERA of 2.91, and 92 strikeouts in 12 starts. His strikeout to walk ratio was an incredible 5.4 to 1. Strasburg’s fastball was clocked over 100 miles per hour and his curve baffled experienced hitters. Strasburg pitched 123 innings this season and the Nationals had planned to shut him down for the year after 160 innings.

The 22-year old rookie right-hander created a buzz around the Nationals that hadn’t been experienced in their six years of existence, with attendance up significantly during Strasburg’s starts.  When Strasburg started at home, the Nationals averaged 34,270 fans, nearly double the 17,190 the Nats averaged for other games.

Strasburg was spectacular in his major league debut June 8, striking out 14 and walking none in seven innings in a 5-2 win over Pittsburgh at Nationals Park.

For the rest of my article on Examiner.com, please click here.

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