Ultimately, Stephen Strasburg can be extremely successful. Health will be the key. He has looked good in his rehab starts, with one exception, and he had filthy stuff in his first start back on Tuesday. Whether he can keep improving will depend on how his arm bounces back after each start.

Baseball has many pitchers who have had success after surgery. There are some who never get back. The Nationals are building for the future and if Strasburg can be a front-end starter, they will push the Phillies and Braves.

Sure, there has been a ton of hype. But here's hoping he's able to get all the way back. It's good for D.C. and it's good for baseball.

rtfritz@tribune.com

Different levels of success

Bill Shaikin

Los Angeles Times

If success in the comeback is defined at getting back to the major leagues, Stephen Strasburg already is there.

If success in the comeback is defined at getting back to the major leagues with the same velocity and consistency, he looks pretty close, based on the five shutout innings he threw in his return on Tuesday. It is not unusual for pitchers recovering from Tommy John surgery to get back to the majors after one year and to get back to top form after two.

If success is defined at fulfilling the ridiculous amount of hype heaped upon him en route to the major leagues, well, that will take years to find out. Let's wait until hitters get a look at him a few times.

bshaikin@tribune.com