The Nationals organization and fans got the worst possible news today. Stephen Strasburg will likely require Tommy John surgery, and might miss the entire 2011 season. But it's important to remember that Tommy John surgery is no longer a death sentence for pitchers.
It's been pointed out numerous times, that both starting pitchers in last night's game, Jordan Zimmermann and Chris Carpenter, had undergone Tommy John surgery and recovered successfully. Carpenter has come back to be a very effective pitcher. The jury is still out on Zimmermann, but his performance last night showed that he still had much of the same "stuff" he had before his surgery.
J. Freedom du Lac takes it a step further:
Seven pitchers at the 2010 MLB All-Star Game had TJ surgery: T. Hudson, C. Carpenter, J. Johnson, J. Soria, R. Soriano, A. Rhodes and H. Kuo
Today isn't a very good day to be a Nats fan, member of the organization, or Strasburg himself, but it's not the end of the world. Strasburg will likely be ready to go at the start of the 2012 season when he will hopefully be surrounded by a better team, and will still be only 24 years old.