New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey has been diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow.
General manager Sandy Alderson broke the bad news on Monday and said Tommy John surgery may be needed. The treatment for Harvey’s injury won’t be known for at least 2 to 3 weeks.
If surgery is required, Harvey can expect to miss at least 12 to 13 months.
Doctors will decide on the best course of action after swelling subsides and a more clear assessment of the pitchers tear can be determined.
Speaking to reporters about his unfortunate situation, Harvey expressed hope that he could avoid surgery by strengthening the area located around the ligament tear. Anderson disagrees with the pitcher’s assessment, noting that pitching through strength training is often unsuccessful.
In preparation of the possibly of surgery, Matt Harvey visited the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. Harvey visited after complaining of forearm discomfort following his 102-pitch start on Saturday against the Detroit Tigers. The examine included an MRI, which revealed the UCL tear.
According to Alderson:
“Doctors will always tell you that if you could avoid surgery you should. However, we have had situations in the past — not just here, but across baseball — where the conservative approach doesn’t work, and what you end up with is a loss of time and therefore a delay in recovery. That all has to be taken into account. We’re all aware of what [a] delay might cause, and so we will be monitoring the situation. And I’m sure Matt will be making a decision in conjunction with us that takes that into account.”
According to Harvey’s agent, Scott Boras:
“When you’re talking about the term ‘partial tear,’ you’re talking about 5 percent to 95 percent. You have to get in and get the specifics and get more information medically before we can really make a determination as to what we’re dealing with. There’s a lot of swelling in there now…. I’ve had situations with no surgery. I’ve had situations where the doctors recommended surgery.”
Harvey admits that pain in his arm has been felt for the last few months.
“Obviously it was the last thing I was expecting when I went in this morning,” Harvey said. “I haven’t had shooting pains down my hand or in my elbow at all. It’s mostly been forearm tightness. It’s something, obviously, I could pitch through. It just so happens this last start was a little bit more uncomfortable than normal, and I decided it was in my best interest to get it checked out. I was hoping for… tenderness or just some stiffness and swelling of the muscle area, and it obviously turned out to be something else. That was definitely a shock.”
The New York Mets ace picture is 9-5 this season with a 2.27 ERA and 191 strikeouts. Harvey is second in the bigs for ERA, third in WHIP, and fourth in strikeouts.
Replacing Matt Harvey in the Mets rotation is right-hander Carlos Torres.