Will Strasburg's comeback succeed?

Ask again next year

Dave van Dyck


Chicago Tribune

History suggests Stephen Strasburg should be just fine — maybe.


Most pitchers who return from elbow ligament surgery are as good — in some cases better — than before the operation. And then there are the exceptions.

Kerry Wood was never quite the same, although his physical problems moved up his arm to the shoulder.

And Chad Fox is not the only pitcher who has had Tommy John surgery performed more than once and never completely recovered.

So, will Strasburg be successful? Probably — and he has passed that huge first hurdle with flying colors — but the question will be better answered at this time next year.


Could be a winner

Tom Housenick

The Morning Call

Stephen Strasburg has a live arm. Unfortunately for him and the Nationals, he has a damaged arm that already has been rebuilt.

If nothing else, that injury (and his mechanics) may shorten his career and assure Washington fans that he won't be the next Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson or Roger Clemens.

But if the 23-year-old's right arm, elbow and shoulder hold up for the next decade, it will be a cash-cow situation for the franchise.

The first overall pick in the 2009 draft could be part of the Nationals' first winning season in the very near future, with other standouts such as Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan Zimmermann, Michael Morse and Bryce Harper poised to build a strong core.

Health will be key

Baltimore Sun

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.

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.

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