As he prepares to join his Nationals teammates this weekend at spring training, Stephen Strasburg has reached a significant milestone in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. For the first time since he felt a pop in his right elbow on Aug. 21, when he threw a 1-1 changeup to Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown, Strasburg is throwing again.
"He told me that he tossed a ball, that he was really excited," Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty said today in a phone interview. "I just kind of laughed. He was so excited to be able to toss a ball. I'm not sure what the process is, because it can vary. But I know he tossed a ball. It was a very short distance. He was very happy."
We wrote here on The Nats Blog yesterday that Strasburg will probably be back in Washington by September of this season, earlier than the initial projections of spring of 2012. Who knows, maybe we encouraged him to make that first big step today (kidding, of course).
This news, while encouraging, reminds us of how far away we really are from seeing Strasburg on the mound in Washington yet again. As we all know, when returning from any injury, much less surgery, you need to walk before you can run. Even so, the thought that Stephen Strasburg (as well as the rest of us) got really excited about gently tossing a ball reminds us how far away we are from 101 MPH fastballs and knee buckling curves.
They will come, and they will come on schedule, it just makes September seem light years away.