Zack Wheeler diagnosed with torn elbow ligament; Tommy John surgery “likely”

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Matt Harvey isn’t even officially back from his Tommy John surgery yet and now another young Mets starter is bound for the same operation and year-long rehab.

Zack Wheeler has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament and, while no decision has been made yet, Tommy John surgery is considered “likely.”

Damn.

Wheeler was the sixth overall pick in the 2009 draft and the Mets stole him from the Giants in exchange for a few months of Carlos Beltran in mid-2011. He debuted in 2013 at age 23 and has thrown 285 innings with a 3.50 ERA in the majors, striking out 8.5 batters per nine innings and working in the mid-90s with his fastball.

He struggled in his spring training debut, allowing six runs while recording four outs, as Wheeler walked two batters and plunked three others. He was then scratched from his Saturday start, but the Mets initially downplayed the severity of the injury and there was originally no MRI exam even scheduled.

Wheeler’s injury robs Mets fans of seeing him alongside Harvey in the rotation until next season and also greatly decreases the odds of general manager Sandy Alderson trading starter Dillon Gee.