By Ed Coleman
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A little after 4 o’clock on Monday afternoon, Mets GM Sandy Alderson delivered these words that would sink the hearts of all Met fans and baseball fans in general.
How could this happen? Matt Harvey was a pitcher, a max-effort guy, but with a clean delivery that certainly didn’t look like he was putting undue stress on his arm. There are definitely a lot of pitchers other than Harvey that you look at and say — “oh boy, that’s an accident (or Tommy John surgery) waiting to happen”. But good pitching mechanics don’t always prevent arm injuries – Mark Prior may be the best prior example of that tenet, so to speak. Mets manager Terry Collins hearkened back to his days with the Dodgers and Dr. Frank Jobe.
Harvey was just as stunned as everyone else when he received the news. And for now, he will attempt to avoid what’s probably inevitable — surgery — and rehab the elbow first.
And given the time frame, if he does undergo surgery — whether it be now or in a couple of months this fall — the 2014 season is gone for Harvey. Rehabbing the injury may get him back sooner, but there’s always an inherent danger to that particular approach according to Alderson.
Mets closer Bobby Parnell, sidelined himself with a neck injury at the moment and who also has had elbow problems in the past, obviously felt empathy for Harvey.
Harvey’s last start was on Saturday — a rematch of the All-Star game matchup against Max Scherzer when the Tigers were in town over the weekend. Ironically, I spoke with Scherzer on Sunday about what he — a more experienced pitcher would tell Harvey about how to get through the end of a long regular season and possibly eventually a post-season at optimum ability and with best results. Scherzer said that you have to listen to your body – it will tell you what to do. There are times you will need rest – there are times you will need treatment for something that hurts – and there are times that you will have to strengthen something to ensure that it won’t hurt. But learn your body – it will tell you. And Parnell said much the same thing.
So 2014, the year the Mets were poised to have a breakthrough season, has now been pushed back, right? Not necessarily. They may not have Harvey to lead the charge, but there is a wealth of young pitching to find out about, and moves to be made by a less financially strapped front office. Alderson spoke about that challenge and moving forward.
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