Stephen Strasburg has successful Tommy John surgery

Nationals rookie Stephen Strasburg had “smooth and uneventful” Tommy John surgery in Los Angeles on Friday, general manager Mike Rizzo told reporters in Pittsburgh. Strasburg’s operation, performed by Dr. Lewis Yocum and Nationals team doctor Wiemi Douoguih, lasted three hours. He’ll spend the night in the hospital and head home to San Diego, where he will rehab at a Scripps clinic there.

Doctors took a tendon out of Strasburg’s thigh to replace the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. Recovery from the surgery typically takes 12 to 18 months, so at best, Strasburg would be back for the final month of the 2011 season. It’s possible he won’t pitch in the majors again until 2012.

Kristen Hudak contributed reporting from Pittsburgh