Stephen Strasburg said Friday he was in shock when he learned that he had a significant tear in his ulnar collateral ligament -- an injury that is expected to force to the Nationals right-hander to undergo Tommy John surgery.
Shocked and disappointed are probably the best words to describe the feelings of the Nationals, their fans and everyone else who has enjoyed the phenom's amazing first act this summer.
"It was kind of a shock to me. I really didn't feel anything," Strasburg said during a news conference. "It's good that it happened in a way [now], instead of when we are going to the postseason or getting ready for the World Series.
"It's a new challenge. I want to be the best in everything. Right now, I want to be the best at rehabbing and get back [on the mound]."
Strasburg, who was originally placed on the disabled list because of a flexor strain in his right forearm, had an arthrogram performed on Thursday afternoon to determine if something is seriously wrong, and doctors found ligament damage in the elbow.
He will seek a second opinion from Dr. Lewis Yocum in Southern California before the Nationals make a final decision on surgery, but the club said that procedure is necessary. Strasburg will leave for California on Saturday, with elbow surgery to follow soon thereafter.
Strasburg is expected to be back at 100 percent in 12-18 months.