When it was initially reported that New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey suffered a partial tear to his ulnar collateral ligament, the expectation was that the youngster would soon be going under the knife. UCL tears often ultimately require Tommy John surgery, a procedure that sidelines pitchers for at least a year.
However, Harvey tweeted yesterday that he expected to be back and healthy by April 1, the start of the 2014 season. That's certainly nowhere near the timeframe he'd require if he undergoes TJ surgery.
General manager Sandy Alderson tried to clear things up this afternoon during a press conference, telling reporters that the team would wait a few weeks before making a decision on whether or not Harvey would require surgery.
“We’re going to wait three weeks and test it, to see if he’s
hurting,” Alderson said. “[Harvey] spoke to Roy Halladay yesterday and Halladay
said ‘I had the same problem 10 years ago and I still haven’t had the surgery.’
There is reason to hope in that regard.”
In general, it seems to be the case that pitchers who suffer partial UCL tears and attempt rehabbing the injury are ultimately forced to undergo surgery. Of course, Halladay is at least one case that shows different.
Still, while the 2014 season is still in question, there's no doubt that the Mets hope to be contending by 2015. For that reason, wouldn't it be smart to ensure you have Harvey healthy for the start of that campaign rather than draw things out to see if he can return for next season?
Whatever the case, this is the path the Mets are taking. Hopefully it works out for the best, but if Harvey ultimately ends up requiring surgery there will be questions regarding how New York handled the young ace.
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