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Big League Stew

Matt Harvey says he’ll be ready for opening day next season

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

While baseball pundits around the land are talking about whether injured New York Mets ace Matt Harvey will need Tommy John surgery to fix the partial tear of the UCL in his right elbow, Harvey himself told the world on Tuesday that he'll be ready for next April — an indication that he's not thinking about surgery.

At the Monday press conference, both he and Mets bosses said the decision would come in a few weeks. On Tuesday, however, Harvey tweeted like a man with his mind made up.

Maybe Harvey isn't The Dark Knight, like people say. Maybe he's Iron Man and he just needed a night alone in his laboratory to fix himself. Oh, if only it were that easy.

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(USA Today)

Harvey could very well be ready for opening day — the question is how sustainable would he and his elbow be? As we noted on Monday, Chad Billingsley of the Los Angeles Dodgers had a similar partial UCL tear last season. He tried to rehab it without surgery so he could play this season, then eventually re-injured himself and needed Tommy John surgery anyway.

As Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan writes in a well-crafted column about the inevitability of elbow injuries among today's pitchers:

"History says the best-case scenario is that Harvey pitches a few years before it fully blows out. The best example of a rehab case was Adam Wainwright, who got six full seasons following a partial-tear diagnosis ... While trying to rehab is the responsible thing, it usually just delays the start of an arduous process: the physical rebuilding of an arm and the mental rebuilding of a man who must re-teach himself how to use it."

If we know anything about Harvey, though, it's that he's a headstrong guy — a pitcher propelled earlier in his career by the need to prove people wrong. Maybe that's the case here. Maybe he's just trying to be positive. Or maybe that's just a tweet from a 24-year-old that won't be true in a few months.

Wouldn't be the first time.

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