Results tagged ‘ Bobby Parnell ’

Wheeler has torn UCL; Tommy John surgery probable

Update, 12:39 p.m.

FORT MYERS, Fla. — For the second straight season, the Mets’ rotation will be incomplete.

Starting pitcher Zack Wheeler has been diagnosed with a completely torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, the team announced Monday, making Tommy John surgery inevitable. Though the Mets have not committed to the operation, general manager Sandy Alderson described Wheeler’s situation as “pretty clear-cut,” calling the diagnosis preliminary only because Wheeler has yet to meet with team orthopedist Dr. David Altchek.

Tommy John ligament-replacement surgery is the standard treatment for a torn UCL, requiring an approximate 12-month recovery.

“The diagnosis is not surprising,” Alderson said. “We had been forewarned by the doctors that his elbow was a concern, and that it was going to have to be managed over the course of this season. It wasn’t clear that the ligament was involved at that time, but we understood that we were going to have to manage his medical condition over the course of the season. So when he complained of the elbow pain, it wasn’t a surprise to us.

“When the elbow is involved, anything can happen.”

The news broke as Matt Harvey, who spent the entire 2014 season recovering from Tommy John surgery, prepared to make his third spring start.

“Thanks for everybody’s support and kind words,” Wheeler wrote on Twitter. “It’s greatly appreciated. Long road ahead.”

Wheeler, 24, was 11-11 with a 3.54 ERA in 32 starts last season, putting him in contention for the Mets’ Opening Day start. But his elbow was an issue as far back as last summer, Alderson said, when he first complained of discomfort. The Mets ordered an MRI last September, as Wheeler was putting the finishing touches on a 16-start run that saw him go 8-3 with a 2.71 ERA. Though that test came back clean, Wheeler complained of elbow discomfort again over the winter. A second MRI in January also showed no UCL tear.

Reporting to Spring Training in February as usual, Wheeler complained of elbow discomfort a third time last week, prompting the Mets to scratch him from his Saturday start. At the time, they said it was more due to a blister underneath his right middle fingernail than to anything related to the elbow, with Alderson going as far as to say that Wheeler would not need another MRI. That changed a day later, when the team sent him for one and forwarded the results to Dr. Altchek in New York.

Shortly thereafter, it became clear that Wheeler was destined to become the fifth Mets pitcher to undergo Tommy John surgery in the past 20 months, joining Harvey, Bobby Parnell, Jeremy Hefner (twice) and Josh Edgin. Several pitchers with partially torn UCLs have attempted to rehab their injuries instead of undergo surgery, most notably Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka. But rehab is only possible if the UCL is not completely torn, as Wheeler’s is.

“It’s a blow, but at the same time we knew there would be a lot of uncertainty surrounding Zack and his elbow over the course of the season,” Alderson said. “We’re obviously not happy he won’t be with us, but I think if there’s a silver lining, it’s that we now have some certainty. We know that we have a solution for this, that he won’t have to manage the kind of pain that I think he had to manage over the course of last season. Doing that over a career is simply unsustainable.”

To replace Wheeler in the rotation, the Mets will almost certainly turn to Dillon Gee, a longtime starter who had been demoted to bullpen work. But the Mets also have several top prospects ready or close to ready for the Majors, including Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Rafael Montero. They will be considerations early in the season, if not immediately.

Said Alderson: “We’re still digesting the injury to Zack and really have not started to address that issue.”

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Wheeler satisfied elbow injury is not serious

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Rather than prepare for his originally scheduled Grapefruit League start against the Nationals, Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler spent his Saturday morning downplaying the elbow injury and blister that forced him to the sideline.

“It’s something that I’ve had before and had to deal with,” Wheeler said of his right elbow tendinitis in particular. “It mainly sort of picked up last year, but I’ve had it my whole career. It’s been that way. I’ve dealt with it and stuff. I’m just going day-to-day with it.”

For now, that means a brief period of rest. The Mets treated Wheeler’s discomfort last season with anti-inflammatories and other treatments, but no injections. And Wheeler simply pitched through the pain — finishing 11-11 with a 3.54 ERA in his first full season. His blister is a recurring injury that he has had since high school, and also something he believes he can manage.

“Every pitcher in here pitches through pain at some point,” Wheeler said. “It’s just a matter of dealing with it. … You don’t want to push yourself during Spring Training. The games don’t mean anything here. I’m just trying to get myself right for the season when the games actually do mean something.”

Wheeler plans to rest for a few days, throw a bullpen later this week and make his next scheduled start, as he continues to compete for an Opening Day assignment. Right-hander Tyler Pill took his spot Saturday against the Nationals, in what the Mets anticipate being a one-start hiatus.

Still, the club has reason to be concerned, considering Major League Baseball’s growing history of elbow injuries turning into operations. Over the past 20 months, Mets pitchers Matt Harvey, Bobby Parnell and Jeremy Hefner (twice) have undergone Tommy John surgeries. Reliever Josh Edgin is currently considering an operation as well. Outside the Mets’ clubhouse, Rangers ace Yu Darvish is about to join the growing ranks of top-flight arms headed for the operating table.

“You always have that in the back of your head, but you try not to change anything you’re doing — arm angle, mechanics, that kind of stuff,” Wheeler said. “You just keep doing what you’re doing and trust it.”

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Josh Edgin weighing Tommy John surgery

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Mets left-hander Josh Edgin is considering undergoing Tommy John surgery, which would force him to miss the entire season.

Edgin returned to Mets camp Thursday from New York, where orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Altchek diagnosed him with a stretched ligament and a bony mass in his left elbow, according to general manager Sandy Alderson. Edgin will spend the next few days deciding if he wants to attempt a rehab program or undergo surgery, which would sideline him until 2016.

“It’s disappointing, yes,” Edgin said. “Actually, really disappointing. We’re going to have a great year this year, whether it’s with me or without me.”

If Edgin opts for rehab, he will still open the season on the disabled list. But he could contribute as soon as April, with the caveat that the stretched ligament and bony mass will still exist — perhaps portending future injury. Surgery would knock Edgin out for the season, but theoretically fix the problem for good.

“It’s not a black-and-white situation,” Alderson said. “There’s a certain amount of gray area here that requires some judgment on the physician’s part, as well as Josh deciding exactly how he wants to approach it.

“We’re going to let Josh sort through the information. We’ve talked about it and we’ve talked with the doctor. But look, I’m not the patient. I’m not the person who’s got the injury or the career in front of it.”

To that end, Edgin said he is considering “wife, kids, future, teammates, a lot of stuff” as he weighs both options. Understanding that Tommy John surgery “has a great outlook on it,” with most patients recovering all of their velocity within one year, Edgin also wants to pitch.

A former 30th-round Draft pick in 2010, Edgin, 28, grew up on a farm in Three Springs, Pa., receiving a $2,000 bonus as the 902nd player chosen that year. He blazed through the Mets’ system from there, coming to camp last month all but guaranteed a job for the first time. Now, Edgin is facing a decision that will significantly affect his career either way.

“Whatever I choose to do, I’m going to go at it 100 percent,” Edgin said.

Like most clubs, the Mets have had multiple big leaguers undergo Tommy John surgery in recent seasons. Most famously, Matt Harvey underwent the procedure in Oct. 2013 and is due to make his regular-season return in April. Closer Bobby Parnell had Tommy John surgery in April 2014 and is also due back this year, either in late April and early May. Right-hander Jeremy Hefner, who appeared in 50 games for the Mets from 2012-13, underwent his second Tommy John procedure last October and will miss this entire season.

Harvey initially considered rehab before consenting to surgery. Across town, Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka is undergoing a rehab program in lieu of Tommy John. But both of those players had partial tears of their ulnar collateral ligaments; Edgin’s ligament is stretched like a loose rubber band, not torn, and Alderson indicated that rehab alone is not capable of tightening it.

If Edgin does miss significant time, the primary candidates to replace him are Rule 5 pick Sean Gilmartin, Dario Alvarez and Scott Rice, all left-handers. Jack Leathersich is also on the team’s radar, but remains an unlikely option given his control issues. Starting pitching prospect Steven Matz is not a bullpen candidate at this time.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Nationals 9, Mets 7: Three Up, Three Down

You asked for it, you got it: the return of Three Up, Three Down. Each day, we here at Mets Cetera will pick three Mets players who thrived and three who, well, not so much.

This is not necessarily a statistically-driven exercise. The player who goes 4-for-4 with three home runs (or the one who mashes a two-run homer in a four-run game with two outs in the ninth — looking at you, David Wright) will usually receive an “Up,” to be sure. But we’ll also look to reward unsung heroes. So without further ado…

wright-3-31-14

Three Up
1. Jose Valverde: A huge strikeout of Ryan Zimmerman with the game on the line in the seventh, followed by a perfect inning with two more whiffs in the eighth. In all, a sterling Mets debut.

2. Juan Lagares: Given an Opening Day start in center field, Lagares homered, reached base three times and flat-out out-played Eric Young, Jr., his main competition in Spring Training.

3. Andrew Brown: Brown’s three-run homer off Stephen Strasburg was a huge early lift for the Mets, whose failure to capitalize later in the game was hardly the reserve outfielder’s fault.

Three Down
1. Eric Young, Jr.: Finishing 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in the leadoff spot (albeit with a sacrifice fly) is not going to cut it. Young must improve if he wants ample playing time this season.

2. Scott Rice: Carlos Torres was just as guilty as Rice, walking the only batter he faced in the game. But Rice’s walk came with the bases loaded and the Mets up by a run, earning him the thumbs down today.

3. Bobby Parnell: Called upon to protect a one-run lead, Parnell gave up two hits, a walk and a run. The velocity was there, but the results were not.

Season Standings
Andrew Brown +1
Juan Lagares +1
Jose Valverde +1
Bobby Parnell -1
Scott Rice -1
Eric Young, Jr. -1

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Mets Cetera programming note

I’m back in New York City for the weekend, enjoying a break from Port St. Lucie’s sunshine and mid-70s temperatures. Expect a return to regular updates next week; in the interim, Marty Noble wrote a humorous account of today’s “B” game starring David Wright, Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese and Bobby Parnell.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Mets Spring Training: Week two in review

Here’s a recap of what went down in week two of Spring Training at Port St. Lucie, Fla.:

traditionfield2-15

“It shouldn’t have been a story, anyway. It’s just an overblown thing. Everyone has injuries and then they get hurt. So it was pointless to write an article. I sucked last year because I sucked. It’s not because I had an injury. You always have injuries. And now it just looks bad.”

  • Davis and Lucas Duda later began their first-base competition with a bang, each homering early in Grapefruit League play.
  • The Mets received another injury scare when Jon Niese began complaining of a sore shoulder, prompting the team to send him to New York for an MRI. That came back clean, and Niese climbed back on a mound for a bullpen session Monday.
  • We profiled Noah Syndergaard, Daniel Murphy and Jeurys Familia. On Syndergaard, whose size and strength have earned him the nickname “Thor,” high school coach David Walden told the story of a pitcher who went from unrecruited to famous in the span of four months:

“We don’t even have kids that can play catch with him anymore,” Walden said. “We’re not taking credit for it because we have no idea what happened.”

  • And, finally, columnist Anthony Castrovince made his way to Mets camp, talking to David Wright, Zack Wheeler and others about the direction of the franchise.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Dispatches from Port St. Lucie, 3/1

And just like that, the Mets are 0-2 in Grapefruit League play.

helmets2-22What we wrote:

Around the league:

They said it:

“Too early to call him on it.” –Bobby Parnell, on breaking Daniel Murphy’s bat during live batting practice

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Dispatches from Port St. Lucie, 2/21

We’re officially a full week into Spring Training and there’s no controversy here in Florida. No major news stories, either. Is this really a Mets camp?

dicekautographs

What we learned: The Mets are instructing all catchers in their organization not to block home plate, regardless of whether Major League Baseball ratifies a new rule prohibiting plate collisions. General manager Sandy Alderson personally demonstrated proper protocol to his catchers. … No Mets player experienced a visa issue for the first time since 2010. All 64 players are officially in camp.

What we wrote:

Around the league:

They said it:

“Say, for example, it’s Game 6 of the World Series and I’m told I can’t block the plate. Well, my instincts are going to tell me to save that run being scored. That’s part of the game that every catcher enjoys. It’s our thrill, like the infielder making a diving play in the hole and throwing someone out from his knees.” –Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud on MLB’s pending collision rule

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo

Looking at relievers? The Mets are, too.

Among the nuggets general manager Sandy Alderson dropped in a phone interview earlier this week was the fact that the Mets expect to sign a veteran reliever to a Major League deal — not a Minor League deal, as they plan to do to fill out their the rotation.

Luckily for us, the Brewers are in the same position, and MLB.com beat reporter Adam McCalvy has already come up with this comprehensive list of veteran relievers with closing experience — something important, though not necessarily essential to a Mets team still trying to figure out what Bobby Parnell can provide post-surgery.

Below is McCalvy’s list, along with his primers on each one. You may recognize many of the names, including David Aardsma, Luis Ayala, Frank Francisco, Brandon Lyon, Jon Rauch and Francisco Rodriguez:

David Aardsma (69 career saves): The 32-year-old Aardsma had a nice comeback with the Mets last season after rehabbing from July 2011 Tommy John surgery. He made 43 appearances with a 4.31 ERA. But he has not been a closer since he saved 38 games in 2009 and 31 games in 2010 for the Mariners.

Luis Ayala (19 saves): He logged nine of his saves for the Mets in 2008 and has only one save since then, but has been a steady big league reliever since bouncing between three teams in a dismal 2010. Over the past three seasons, Ayala has made 157 appearances for the Yankees, Orioles and Braves with a 2.58 ERA and a solid ground ball rate. He spent time on the disabled list last season because of an anxiety disorder and turns 36 next week, but is seeking a Major League contract.

Andrew Bailey (89 saves): Non-tendered by the Red Sox in December, Bailey is the first of the comeback candidates on this list. He made 30 appearances and logged eight saves before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery shortly after the All-Star break, the latest of a series of medical concerns that have dogged his career. Bailey probably will not be healthy by the start of the season.

Grant Balfour (72 saves): He is the best closer left on the market and the most familiar name on this list because Balfour briefly pitched for the Brewers in 2007. The price tag is a big problem. The 36-year-old, who has posted an ERA of 2.59 or better in four straight seasons, agreed to a two-year, $15 million contract with the Orioles before Christmas, but it reportedly fell apart when Baltimore had concerns about Balfour’s shoulder. He insists he is healthy.

Rafael Betancourt (74 saves): The right-hander, 39 in April, was to undergo Tommy John surgery in September in attempt to save his career. He probably will have to wait until his age 40 season in 2015 to give it a try.

Manny Corpas (34 saves): Corpas preceded Betancourt as Rockies closer, but has not logged a save since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2011. He pitched for the Cubs in 2012 before returning to the Rockies in 2013 for 31 appearances and a respectable 1.344 WHIP. The Rockies outrighted Corpas from the 40-man roster in October.

Octavio Dotel (109 saves): Missed most of the 2013 season with a right elbow injury. As of last check in September, Dotel was trying to avoid Tommy John surgery and planned to pitch in winter ball, but has not appeared in any box scores.

Kyle Farnsworth (54 saves): Farnsworth turns 38 on April 14 and his fastball velocity has come down a bit in the last three years, but he finished last season strong for the Pirates (one run on six hits and three walks with nine strikeouts in nine appearances) and would be available on a one-year deal. MLB Trade Rumors reported last week that six to eight clubs have some interest in Farnsworth, who saved 25 games with a 2.18 ERA for Tampa Bay in 2011.

Frank Francisco (73 saves): The former Rangers, Blue Jays and Mets closer missed most of 2013 recovering from an elbow injury. The season before, he made $5.5 million and had a 5.53 ERA.

Michael Gonzalez (56 saves): He signed with the Brewers for 2012, was well-liked by teammates and led the club with 75 appearances, but allowed a.274 average against left-handed hitters and a 1.035 opponents’ OPS after the All-Star break. The Brewers are not interested in bringing Gonzalez back.

Kevin Gregg (177 saves): Gregg signed a Minor League deal with the Cubs in April after the Dodgers released him, and eventually helped Chicago overcome Carlos Marmol’s struggles. He logged 33 saves with a 3.48 ERA in 62 games, including two saves and one blown save against the Brewers. The Brewers have been linked to Gregg before.

Joel Hanrahan (100 saves): Another rehabber. Hanrahan, traded from the Pirates to the Red Sox in December 2012, underwent Tommy John surgery in May and reportedly will throw for teams in Spring Training to try to find a job.

Brandon Lyon (79 saves): The 34-year-old right-hander has a pair of 20-save seasons on his ledger, but has been a setup man since 2010. He made 37 appearances for the Mets last season with a 4.98 ERA and was released in July. His average fastball velocity fell from 90.2 mph in 2012 to 87.8 mph in 2013, according to data from FanGraphs.com.

Ryan Madson (52 saves): A shutdown setup man turned quality closer for the Phillies, Madson has not pitched since 2011. He signed with the Reds for 2012, but needed Tommy John surgery in Spring Training, then signed with the Angels for 2013, but never made it to the mound.

Carlos Marmol (117 saves): He was all but run out of Wrigley Field, but Marmol is only 31 (of pitchers on this list, only Bailey and Corpas are younger) and could be a good fit for a Brewers team willing to take a flier. He was very close in Chicago with Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez, who is entering the final season of his contract with Milwaukee and is represented by the same agent, Paul Kinzer. He was still throwing a 93.7 mph average fastball in 2013, when Marmol made 52 appearances for the Cubs and Dodgers with a 4.41 ERA, including a 2.53 ERA in 21 regular season games with the Dodgers. Melvin and Kinzer met at the Winter Meetings to discuss Marmol.

Brett Myers (40 saves): A serious elbow injury limited Myers to four appearances with the Indians in 2013, but he is looking to pitch in 2014, according to reports.

Jon Rauch (62 saves): The Brewers explored signing the 6-foot-11 right-hander last winter, but he went to the Marlins and posted a 7.56 ERA in 15 games before being released in May.

Fernando Rodney (172 saves): Life is good when a 37-save, 3.38 ERA season qualifies as a “down year,” but such is life after Rodney’s remarkable 2012 campaign. The fact he is seeking a multiyear deal probably puts him out of the Brewers’ price range.

Francisco Rodriguez (304 saves): The Brewers have already acquired K-Rod twice; in a trade with the Mets the night of the 2011 All-Star Game, and via a Minor League free agent contract last April. Rodriguez made it back to Milwaukee and helped stabilize the bullpen, posting a 1.09 ERA in 25 games before Melvin dealt him to the Orioles for third base prospect Nicky Delmonico. Rodriguez, who turned 32 on Tuesday, is represented by Scott Boras. Another return is quite possible; Melvin said he’s talked to Boras about Rodriguez this winter.

Jose Valverde (286 saves): Thirty-six in March, it appears Valverde’s best days are behind him. He pitched to a 5.59 ERA in 20 appearances for the Tigers last season before the team released him in August.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

Nationals 3, Mets 2: Three Up, Three Down

Jeremy Hefner just may be the unluckiest man in baseball.

Three Up:
1. RHP Jeremy Hefner:  With Zack Wheeler waiting in the wings, Hefner just keeps on thriving. He holds a 3.60 ERA over his last eight starts, the first uninterrupted stretch of his career spent as a starting pitcher.

2. SS Omar Quintanilla: Have the Mets found their new leadoff man? Quintanilla’s history suggests that his hot streak is a fluke, but the Mets will certainly ride it for as long as it lasts.

3. RHP Brandon Lyon: On a night when the closer did not do his job, the setup man certainly did. These guys get even less love than closers when they do their job, but the same amount of blame when they don’t.

Three Down:
1. 2B Daniel Murphy: Is the league’s streakiest hitter (or one of them, at least) heading into a cold snap? Just like that, he’s 0-for-13, dragging his average down 20 points or so.

2. OF Rick Ankiel: Terry Collins bumped Ankiel down to eighth in the lineup, but he might soon consider leaving him off the card altogether. If not for Adam LaRoche’s error, Ankiel would have finished 0-for-3 with a popup, a strikeout and a double play.

3. RHP Bobby Parnell: Parnell can’t be perfect every time. But his propensity for allowing leadoff doubles, even when he does convert the save, is somewhat troubling.

Three Up, Three Down Season Standings:
+6
RHP Matt Harvey
+5
C John Buck, OF Marlon Byrd, 2B Daniel Murphy
+4
INF Justin Turner,
RHP Jeremy Hefner, SS Omar Quintanilla
+2
RHP Greg Burke, LHP Jon Niese, OF Mike Baxter, OF Lucas Duda
+1
LHP Robert Carson, RHP LaTroy Hawkins, OF Juan Lagares, 3B David Wright, LHP Scott Rice
-1
RHP Brandon Lyon, RHP Bobby Parnell
-2
LHP Aaron Laffey, RHP Scott Atchison, OF Jordany Valdespin, C Anthony Recker, RHP Shaun Marcum, RHP Collin McHugh
-3
OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis

-4
LHP Josh Edgin, SS Ruben Tejada, RHP Dillon Gee, OF Rick Ankiel
-13
1B Ike Davis

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

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