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.

dvandyck@tribune.com

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.

thousenick@tribune.com

Health will be key

Ron Fritz

Baltimore Sun