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Stephen Strasburg starts throwing after Tommy John surgery

Feb 10, 2011, 4:14 PM EDT

Strasburg press conference

Stephen Strasburg, who felt a “pop” in his elbow on August 21 and underwent Tommy John surgery two weeks later, has started throwing again.

It’s just the first step on the year-plus road to recovery and Strasburg is still nowhere near getting back on a mound yet, but Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that the former No. 1 overall pick “was so excited to be able to toss a ball.”

The best-case scenario for Strasburg would likely involve making a few low-pressure appearances in September, but the Nationals have no reason to rush him back for that if he suffers any kind of setback or simply needs a bit more time than the ahead-of-schedule Tommy John survivors who’ve come back in less than 12 months. In some cases it takes 18 months to return to game action and as pitchers like Francisco Liriano have shown even then it often takes significantly longer before surgically repaired arms start to feel like their old self again.

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