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Mets lose Parnell to DL with partial MCL tear in elbow

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Their season may only be one game old, but the Mets have already suffered a major setback.

Following his blown save in Monday’s home opener, closer Bobby Parnell experienced tightness in his elbow, which prompted an MRI and other clinical tests. According to a team report (April 1), Mets doctors determined that Parnell has an incomplete tear of the MCL (medial collateral ligament) in his right elbow. He received an injection of platelet-rich plasma Tuesday and will rest for the next two weeks in an effort to avoid surgery.

However, Mets starting pitcher Jermey Hefner suffered the same injury last summer and required Tommy John surgery, so Parnell is not out of the woods. At the end of his two weeks of rest, he will begin throwing again and be reevaluated to determine if surgery is necessary.

There had been some signs that Parnell’s health was in jeopardy, as he struggled with his velocity throughout Spring Training. Mets manager Terry Collins expressed concern that Parnell might not be ready to start the season, but his issue was attributed largely to coming back from the surgery that he had last September to repair a herniated disc in his neck.

With Parnell on the shelf, the Mets are expected to turn to Jose Valverde to close games. Valverde pitched 1 1/3 innings on Opening Day, striking out three. The team also plans to call up veteran relief pitcher Kyle Farnsworth from Triple-A Las Vegas to take Parnell’s spot on the roster. In order to purchase his contract, the Mets must remove someone from the 40-man roster. Candidates include infielder Zach Lutz and pitcher Ryan Reid.

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