New York Mets right-hander Matt Harvey has reportedly been experiencing some tenderness in his forearm for much of the season. The team has been treating it since Spring Training, but haven’t had any reasons for concern that it might be symbolic of a larger issue up until Harvey’s latest start. He’d report more tightness in his arm than usual to team trainers following the game, leading the team to conduct further evaluations.
Following an MRI Monday morning, Harvey learned that he has a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right arm. Harvey will be placed on the DL and will miss the remainder of the season. The team has not yet decided if he’ll need to undergo Tommy John Surgery, but it hasn’t been ruled out according to MLB.com’s Adam Berry.
Harvey’s quickly established himself as one of the top young pitchers in baseball this season. He’s 9-5 with a 2.27 ERA and 0.931 WHIP over 178.1 IP. His 191 strikeouts and 0.4 HR/9 both league the National League. Harvey also started for the NL in this summer’s All Star Game, ahead of likely NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw. He likely one had two or three more starts left before the team had planned on shutting him down anyway, but having him missing a significant portion of time – especially the chance that he sits out the entire 2014 season – comes at an unfortunate time for the game.
The team held a brief news conference at Citi Field following Harvey’s evaluation, during which GM Sandy Alderson relayed the 24 year old’s surprise that his injury might be this severe:
This was a surprise to all of us, especially Matt himself. He has not had any elbow pain. Forearm pain can foretell problems with the elbow, but in this particular circumstance there had been no indications of that.
It’s not good news, obviously. Over the next two to three weeks, the situation with the overall prognosis and ultimate treatment will be determined.
Part of that wait will be to allow any inflammation to go down, but the team will likely make a decision on Harvey’s treatment sooner rather than later. If he does need to undergo TJ Surgery, the sooner the procedure can be scheduled the better. Recovery time is often a minimum of 12 months from such a procedure. Should Harvey begin that process now, instead of next Spring, it could make the difference in whether he ends up missing more than the full 2014 season.