The New York Mets All-Star pitcher Matt Harvey was placed on the disabled list Monday as a result of a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow, the team’s general manager Sandy Alderson announced. The team plans on resting their ace to see if swelling in the elbow subsides, but the injury could eventually require Tommy John’s surgery, which would likely knock Harvey out for the entire 2014 season.
The injury was discovered after Harvey complained of discomfort following Saturday’s game against the Detroit Tigers. On Monday, he was sent to Dr. David Altchek of the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, who diagnosed the tear following an MRI.
"This was a surprise to all of us, especially Matt himself," Alderson said at a news conference at Citi Field. "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.”
Harvey sounded caught off-guard by the news as well. “When I heard the news, I was pretty shocked. I'm still very optimistic. I'm going to do everything I can so I don't have to get surgery."
Tommy John’s surgery is considered a major reconstructive procedure for pitchers, as it replaces the elbow’s ulnar collateral ligament with a tendon from elsewhere in the body. Full rehabilitation usually takes pitchers one full year.
Beyond his stint on the DL, it’s unclear how much time Harvey will miss. “Over the next two or three weeks, the situation with the overall prognosis and ultimate treatment will be determined."
Before his injury, Harvey was considered among the favorites to win the NL Cy Young Award for best pitcher. In addition to starting the All-Star game at Citi Field, he leads the National League in strikeouts with 191 over 178 1/3 innings, and his 2.27 ERA is second only to Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw.