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Strasburg throws off mound for first time

May 23, 2011, 10:23 PM EDT

Stephen Strasburg has crossed another major milestone in his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

The Nationals right-hander threw off a bullpen mound today in Viera, Fla., for the first time since having reconstructive surgery on his elbow in September.

Strasburg, who had previously only thrown long toss off flat ground, broke the news on Twitter, posting: “First bullpen in the books. Felt great! Hopefully time will speed up now!”

Strasburg’s first bullpen session comes about 8 1/2 months after his surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament and leaves open the possibility of him returning to pitch in the majors this season. Recovery time for pitchers who had the Tommy John procedure is typically 12-to-18 months, so if Strasburg remains on schedule, he could return to make a handful of starts in September.

  1. sm13 - May 23, 2011 at 10:30 PM

    Hope springs eternal!!!

  2. Cwj - May 23, 2011 at 10:57 PM

    I can't wait until he's back pitching every 5 days for the Nats.I was re-watching a bunch of his K's from last year, wow I had (almost) forgotten how electric his pitches were!

  3. masnstinks - May 23, 2011 at 11:03 PM

    It's almost the first anniversary of Strasmas!

  4. LoveDaNats - May 23, 2011 at 11:06 PM

    Strasburgers for dinner!

  5. Anonymous - May 23, 2011 at 11:37 PM

    When he comes back we'll have to call it Strasgiving.

  6. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 23, 2011 at 11:43 PM

    "When he comes back we'll have to call it Strasgiving."And we have our winner!

  7. natsfan1a - May 23, 2011 at 11:54 PM

    Daggone interface froze up on me and ate my post (and it was a really good one, trust me).Feel better, Stephen, and take 'er easy.I know I'm a grumpy old Luddite, but do we really have to have a name for his comeback? I don't think we do these young prospects any favors with the Internetz hype (and you kids get off my lawn!).

  8. Anonymous - May 24, 2011 at 12:21 AM

    Ok, when does that firejimbowden.com guy line up the firemikerizzo.com site? Rizzo is just killing me, he is out there tonight looking for some kind of fan credit for standing up for his players to the umps. Please. Rizzo looking for some kind of pat on the back from the fans for giving an ump an earful is pathetic. Keep standing up for your guys, Mike. That is the true measure of a GM, of course.How about he spends less energy “standing up” for his players and more energy assembling a roster of players that passes the laugh test. Send Berndadina down to find PT for Nix, Stairs, Hairston and Ankiel. Trot Livan out there as an Ace to wow the crowd with that 64 MPH bender. Ink Desmond on that roster as your no glove no hit SS of the future, no matter how badly he plays. When is the press going to start placing Rizzo's feet to the fire? This is his club and it has been for years now. Last place is where this club resides yet again. It is a prettier last place than we are used to, but last place is last place. And all the other clubs (but for the snake-bitten, yet still playing better than the Nats, Mets) are head and shoulders better than the Nats. I am beyond tired of the excuse-making for this guy. Objectively, his record is at best ordinary and at worst plumb awful.

  9. Ribuld - May 24, 2011 at 12:56 AM

    Do you actually watch the Nats play? Livo has been great this year and Ian hasn't had an error in 20 games. Hariston and Cora have been pretty good bench players.

  10. JaneB - May 24, 2011 at 1:20 AM

    Thanks for the facts, Ribuld. You are right on.

  11. Anonymous - May 24, 2011 at 2:11 AM

    The facts? Livan has not been great, he's been good (3.6+ ERA, with little dominance and expectations are that he finsihes above 4 in ERA — he's an innings eater not an Ace). The only reason Desmond is not leading MLB in E's is he missed a few games. His fldg percentage ties for 20th in the bigs for qualifying SS's at .956, and that is after not booting one for a stretch; he's got 44 K's to go with 7 BB's in 182 AB and is raking at an OPS of well less than .700 (though his career number is only .705 — how long does this guy get to play awful baseabll in the bigs before Rizzo sees the light?). Ian may come around, I hope that he does, but he belongs in 'Cuse right now. He is not a MLB SS right now by any standard. But the biggest fact there is, the one that no one can deny, is LAST PLACE!! Last place since he became GM right before the 2009 season. Year to year Rizzo has added very little to a historically bad MLB club. He could not trade Dunn, an amazing blunder. He could not find anythig resembling an Ace after he made that job one. The bench players have been terrible. The rosters that Rizzo has produced have been eseentially DOA in 2009 (very much not his fault that year, but he was AGM), 2010 and in 2011. This game is about winning not about grandstanding in clubhouses for the sake of the umps and then talking about it with the media. Rizzo needs to start producing. To date he has shown himself to be at best a midling GM. This team needs a top level guy.

  12. Anonymous - May 24, 2011 at 2:26 AM

    2012 is fine for Strasburg coming back, don't rush him. This season will be toast by the time the current losing streak is over.

  13. Big Cat - May 24, 2011 at 10:57 AM

    Why Stairs and Eck have jobs is beyond me. They need their walking papers. How bout HRod? Is he nasty or what. Guys probably look out to the pen and cringe when they see him warming. Hitting 101 last night. Did you see that 3-2 curve he dropped in there? Wow

  14. Richard - May 24, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    The Indians are making our Mike Rizzo look bad. The Indians, with Manny Acta, turned it around. Okay, it's only May and maybe they're a flash in the pan but they're looking good. The Nats are not. Can we analyze the roster moves Rizzo has made over the last two years? I like Strasburg and Harper but they were no brainers. Marquis = only one year meeting expectations. LaRoche? Wow. Werth? I like the guy but the Nats overpaid. For me, Dunn had as much or more value, not even counting the fan favoritism. Livo's on the team b/c he wanted to be not b/c of Rizzo. Ankiel? Don't get me started! Oh, what the heck, that decision is inexplicable to me unless this is a church league team and they're all buddies. It has that feel many times though — winning is not the only thing for these guys, as Lombardi said. Anyway, the Lerners love Mike. They gave him a five year deal. They apparently care as much about the results on the field as they do about the quality of MASN and the concessions at Nats Park.

  15. masnstinks - May 24, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    This season is beginning to look over before June 1st. I don't think I have ever seen such an anemic offense.Zim will need time to get back to form, LaRoche will probably need surgery, Werth – reserving judgement. We are playing our bench players as everyday players, Matt Stairs is an embarassment. So – time to change focus. HRod gets experience, JZimm learns how to be a pitcher, Danny plays a full season, Desi matures, Storen has his ups and downs and becomes a real closer, Strasburg heals. By the second half, we will be too far into the basement to climb out – but maybe all of the pieces will begin to gel by the end of the year bringing the every-popular " hope for next year". We did say that 2012 would be our year, right?

  16. Bowdenball - May 24, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    Anonymous anti-Rizzo ranter: The fact that you think Rizzo "inked" Ian Desmond- who signed with the club in 2004 when they were still the Expos- tells us all we need to know about your ability to evaluate a GM. And if it didn't, your silly assumption that Livo is the team's "ace" just because he started on opening day does the trick- in fact the club was relatively open about the fact that it expected Zimmermann to be the best guy in the rotation this year but felt he was too young for the opening day assignment. Or the fact that you think we could have gotten a prospect in return for Dunn that would have been better than the first-round comp. pick we'll get in the 2011 draft- Rizzo actually tried, but he couldn't. Remember the rebuffed attempts to get Beckham for Dunn? Would you have preferred middling prospects over the #23 overall pick in two weeks? Not me.There is a lot of things wrong with this organization, but Mike Rizzo is not one of them. He's only been the GM since 2009. What assets should our team have that he's missed on in that time, given our budget? What mistakes have been made? What excellent middle infield free agent or prospect would you have out there to replace Desmond? You were wrong about the Dunn thing, let's see what else you can be wrong about.

  17. Bowdenball - May 24, 2011 at 1:00 PM

    And let's also talk about the fact that you think Dunn has "as much or more value" than Werth. I assume you haven't looked at Dunn's numbers this year? He's hitting .189/.315.338 while DHing in a very hitter-friendly park. That sounds like "as much or more value" than a plus defender hitting .240/.330/.439?

  18. JD - May 24, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    Bowdenball, I have a couple of self rules: 1) Ignore Anon negative comments. 2) Ignore redundant rants. My own perspective of the Nats situation is mixed: 1) Rizzo is doing a nice job in rebuilding the system which was in a shambles after years of: Minaya and Bowden. 2) I would have traded Dunn for Daniel Hudson last trading deadline if that was available. 3) I would not have thrown all that money at Werth; the last 3 or 4 years of that contract will be throwaway ugly. You just don't give a 32 year old 7 years. 4) I would not have given LaRoche all that money; finding bargains like Nix and Capps is good general managership; giving players who are barely above average 7 mil a year is not. I understand what Rizzo was doing; he was trying to elevate the team out of the basement and into respectability with the signings and he may yet succeed once he gets his team healthy but for me I would rather have thrown all that money into development and over slot signings.

  19. CBinDC - May 24, 2011 at 1:50 PM

    Rizzo vs Fantasy GM …..round 100 It is a function of losing to find a cause or blame if you will but at this moment in time Mike Rizzo is not a part of that discussion. I feel he has done as good a job with the limits he has to work with as ANY GM IN MLB. Bowden was the anti-GM a evil so dark the destruction he brought is still with us to this day.But the major failing that all fans are dealing with is a awful fan experience. And that goes to the Lerners and the new front man whats-his-name.Moves will be made some day. But they have to stop pretending that what the team is right now is anything more then a default roster due to factors they could not overcome and please try to give a logical reason not some cliched hacked responses. This is Washington we (and I know this bold) are very smart collection of people who deal with spin, rinse, spin all day, everyday even if you are not in government.

  20. Bowdenball - May 24, 2011 at 2:01 PM

    Good rules, JD. I'll try to keep them in mind.How low do you think the Nats could have gone and still signed Werth? I agree with you that the deal is too long, but do you think he signs with this team for less than, say, six years at the same salary level? It's an interesting question.As far as the first base situation goes, LaRoche has obviously been a disappointment, but there really wasn't an answer out there. Pena is probably the best of the four or so guys the Nats were considering for 1B in 2011, and he's got an OBP of .719. Lee and LaRoche are on the DL and Dunn is just plain awful. Have to give them credit for knowing when to bail on Dunn despite immense pressure from the fan base to re-sign him. I think they did the right thing at 1B- sign a placeholder whose defense can help their young middle infield develop while leaving the position vacant for a FA or maybe Derek Norris by the time they're ready to contend. Sure he was expensive, but the payroll is so low they could afford it, and the hope was that LaRoche would help the team at least stay close to .500 until the long-awaited 2013 season arrives.A Hudson deal would have been a little better than the #23 overall pick for Dunn, sure, but do we know that was available? I like the organization's renewed focus on the draft. Their work since Rizzo came on board in the draft has been excellent. Harper and Strasburg each signed, in both cases for less money than many were predicting. Storen was a steal. They gave the organization pitching depth in 2010 by convincing the Lerners to break out the checkbook for prospects.It hasn't been perfect, of course. But it's a good start.

  21. Bowdenball - May 24, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    That should be .719 OPS for Pena, not OBP.

  22. Anonymous - May 24, 2011 at 2:09 PM

    Interesting take JD, here is a comment attributed to you on 1/5/11: JD said… This is a good signing because at $8mil per year all you need is 2 WAR to get fair value and I think LaRoche can do that. The key for me is NOT committing to more than 2 years where the player can start a steep decline and you still have to pay him the big bucks.It's so easy to second guess Rizzo, and I guess yourself as well.

  23. UNTERP.NAT - May 24, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    This is my analysis, the Nationals stink…

  24. Nattydread - May 24, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    About this time last year, the Nats went into free fall. Deja vu all over again.

  25. UNTERP.NAT - May 24, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    Nattydread said… About this time last year, the Nats went into free fall. Deja vu all over again.I did my best to defend them, but reality is real, LOL, and they are what we thought they are, not good. I will continue to root. I love misery. Look forward to next season, LOL again…

  26. JD - May 24, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    As a general rule; when signing a free agent I do prefer less years at more money; that's true and I admit that I was not against signing LaRoche at the time and I am reacting to his poor showing this year. As far as Werth; he may well have gone elsewhere for less years; my position is: 'go in good health'. When he's 36 years old; breaking down and production failing everyone here will wish we could have the 17 mil to spend elsewhere. The issue isn't high or low payroll it's the ability to produce a consistent winner within a sensible budget and to sustain this competitive excellence over a long period of time. Signings such as Werth's delay such a process. In a couple of years we will have to pay Zimmerman top dollar; Strasburg will be more expensive and probably Espinosa and Ramos as well; Harper will be here as well as Norris and a couple more stud pitchers as well. Will you not then want to sign a couple of bigtime free agents or will you want to pay $17 mil to a 34 year old Jayson Werth?

  27. Online pharmacy reviews - Oct 24, 2011 at 5:01 PM

    what a impressive record, is incredoble see how some players make a real effort to be the number one, in this you can run the numbers and compare with others, there's no way to make the same thing that Stephen Strasburg.

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