After originally planning to rehab his torn ulnar collateral ligament through a throwing program, Mets All-Star Matt Harvey will undergo Tommy John surgery and subsequently miss the entire 2014 season.
The procedure will be performed by Dr. James Andrews in several weeks and generally brings with it a 12-18 month recovery period. Harvey was shut down initially due to forearm tightness in late August before an MRI showed the ligament damage.
Harvey was one of, if not the breakout star of the 2013 MLB season. He went 9-5 with a 2.27 ERA through 178 1/3 innings, and started the All-Star game in New York at Citi Field. He lit up radar guns with the fastest fastball (95.8 mph), slider (89.9 mph) and curveball (83.5 mph) in the majors.
This unfortunate bit of news surely deals a blow to the Mets' hopes of competing for a playoff spot in 2014. After winning just 74 games this season, losing their best player will make it even harder for them to take a step forward as a team.
But as we've seen with many young pitchers over the last few years, having Tommy John surgery is not a death sentence to promising careers. Some estimates put the success rate for elbow surgery at 85 or 90 percent, and some of the game's brightest stars have returned from the procedure just as good as before.
Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Adam Wainwright and Kris Medlen are some recent examples of Tommy John success stories. Not everyone makes it back perfectly, but the odds are in Harvey's favor in this day and age.
The timing is, however, a bit unfortunate. We likely won't know for sure how well Harvey returns from the surgery until the 2015 season.