Stephen Strasburg, meet Tommy John

It was announced this morning that Stephen Strasburg will likely be on the shelf for 12-18 months while he undergoes Tommy John surgery and then travels the long road to recovery.

Back in May, I wrote about the uncertainty that comes with being the latest can’t miss star.  Despite the strict pitch counts and swaddling clothes, the only thing that is certain today is that Strasburg will not be the next coming of Tom Seaver or Nolan Ryan.  With a bit of luck, he is a guy that will have an inconsistent and occasionally spectacular career.

The following is a list of pitchers who have had the surgery and made it back to the bigs in time to have good careers:

AJ Burnett
Chris Carpenter
Ryan Dempster
Octavio Dotal
Tom Gordon
Tim Hudson
Josh Johnson
Francisco Liriano
Kenny Rogers
John Smoltz
Joakim Soria
Billy Wagner
David Wells
Brian Wilson

 Below is a partial list of players whose careers were never the same:

Erik Bedard
Rick Ankiel
Brian Anderson
Chris Capuano
Eric Gagne
Mike Hampton
Pat Hentgen
Jimmy Key
Joe Nathan
Carl Pavano
Jose Rijo
BJ Ryan
Jaret Wright
Victor Zambrano

Time will tell which list Strasburg ends up on.  Using Carpenter, Hudson and Liriano as examples, we might not know until 2013 or 2014 if his arm comes all the way back.  Keep your chin up Nationals and Expos fans.   Football season starts in two weeks.

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