Mets general manager Sandy Alderson just addressed the media and said that starter Matt Harvey has been diagnosed with “symptoms consistent with thoracic outlet syndrome.” He and the club are considering surgery, which would require a recovery period of at least four months, thereby ending Harvey’s season. Alderson said there are non-surgical options available as well.
Thoracic outlet syndrome results in pressure on blood vessels and nerves in the shoulder, leading to pain and weakness in the area. Which, obviously, will affect a pitcher’s effectiveness and an alteration in mechanics as we’ve seen with Harvey, who has struggled to maintain his arm angle and, frankly, has pitched terribly.
Surgery or not, it’s a scary diagnosis for Harvey, as many pitchers who have had it in the past have had their careers ended or severely altered by the syndrome. Included in this group are Cardinals pitchers Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett, Shaun Marcum of the Indians and Matt Harrison of the Rangers. Chris Young had the surgery and came back to post a couple of effective seasons. Others have never regained past form.
If Harvey’s season were to end, he’d finish with a record of 4-10, an ERA of 4.86 and 76 strikeouts and 25 walks in 92.2 innings.