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.”
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.
Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the season.
The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner announced the news Saturday on his Instagram account in a 1½-minute video.
“In my simulated game a couple days ago, I felt something in my elbow, and after looking at my MRI and conversing with some of the best doctors in the world, we’ve determined that Tommy John surgery is my best option,” Verlander said.
He threw to hitters on Wednesday for the first time since he was injured in the team’s opener on July 24. He threw 50 pitches in the bullpen before throwing about 25 pitches to hitters in two simulated innings.
“I tried as hard as I could to come back and play this season,” Verlander said. “Unfortunately, my body just didn’t cooperate.”
Verlander has been on the injured list with a right forearm strain. He went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA in 2019.
“Obviously, this is not good news,” Verlander said. “However, I’m going to handle this the only way I know how. I’m optimistic. I’m going to put my head down, work hard, attack this rehab and hopefully, come out the other side better for it.
“I truly believe everything that everything happens for a reason, and although 2020 has sucked, hopefully, when this rehab process is all said and done, this will allow me to charge through the end of my career and be healthy as long as I want and pitch as long as I want and accomplish some of the goals that I want in my career.”
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