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Nationals' Jordan Zimmerman Out Until 2011

The Washington Post is reporting that Nationals' top pitching prospect Jordan Zimmerman will undergo ligament-replacement surgery on his right elbow and will need 12 to 18 months to recover.

Though Washington has assembled a cadre of young pitchers -- the emphasis of its franchise-building blueprint -- Zimmermann already has distinguished himself. He had a fastball in the mid-90s and true ace potential, something Washington's other pitchers lack. Zimmermann's injury heightens the conundrum facing an organization that now has six days to sign No. 1 pick Stephen Strasburg. With Zimmermann gone, the team needs Strasburg more than ever. Zimmermann's injury, however, provides an unsettling reminder about the tenuous nature of pitching arms, and investing therein.