So this is … good news for the Mets? Jon Heyman reports that Matt Harvey will try to rehab his ailing elbow rather than have Tommy John surgery to fix the UCL tear that ended his 2013 season last month. Harvey met with Dr. James Andrews on Monday and the diagnosis was apparently positive enough for Harvey to avoid the knife for now.
Will Carroll wrote a study earlier this summer that almost one-third of active pitchers have had Tommy John surgery. It has gotten to the point where Harvey electing — again, for now — to avoid the procedure is somewhat surprising. For instance, Stephen Strasburg had a “significant UCL” tear in August 2010 and missed a season but came back no worse for the wear in 2012 and 2013.
There’s little downside for Harvey waiting to have the surgery if it’s eventually necessary. If he had the surgery tomorrow or in February, his 2014 season would be over regardless. Waiting gives Harvey and Mets fans at least a glimmer of hope.
There’s always the chance Harvey could go down the Roy Halladay route and avoid surgery all together. Halladay spoke with Harvey in August and related how he rehabbed an elbow injury eight years ago without surgery. Halladay, until this year, was one of the best pitchers in baseball — winning the Cy Young in 2010.
Perhaps, the future for Harvey isn’t as bleak as it seemed back in August, when John Buck provided him a shoulder to cry on.
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