COMMENTARY | Isn't it just the New York Mets' luck that when a 24-year-old bursts onto the scene, quickly becomes one of the top pitchers in baseball, and gives fans and the team a reason to believe, that the dream would, in an instant, become a nightmare.
On Monday, the Mets announced that Matt Harvey has a partially torn ligament in his right elbow. A decision will be made in a couple of weeks about whether or not he'll need surgery.
Harvey has a 9-5 record, a 2.27 earned run average, and 191 strikeouts in 178 1/3 innings pitched this season. If he needs Tommy John surgery, he'll be out for at least a year. Even if he doesn't, his right elbow, and all other body parts for that matter, will be a source of concern going forward.
Then again, shouldn't it be that way for all pitchers? Even if they're coddled or brought along slowly -- the Mets planned on limiting his innings down the stretch -- pitchers still seem to be an injury waiting to happen.
All you have to do is look at what happened to Mark Prior and Kerry Wood with the Chicago Cubs a decade ago. They were once considered present and future stars, but then injuries took their toll. Another young star, the Washington Nationals' Stephen Strasburg, had Tommy John surgery in 2010. He was shut down early in 2012, even though the Nationals were playoff-bound.
But you can only protect an arm so much. Pitching is a violent, unnatural motion and as a result, injuries are going to happen. That's what makes this news about Harvey so disturbing.
No one should point fingers at the Mets, and no one should blame Harvey. These things happen. It's what makes trying to predict the future so dangerous.
While this could happen to any pitcher on any team, it really is quite amazing that it happens to Matt Harvey, the best pitcher on a team that desperately needs him. Luck is certainly not on the Mets' side these days.
In a little over a year, Harvey has established himself as one of the best pitchers in the league. This summer, he started the All-Star game at Citi Field. There were supposed to be many more nights like that one in mid-July, only he'd be pitching for the Mets and not the National League.
There still might be, but if he needs surgery, 2015 seems like a long time from now.
Charles Costello has followed the Mets closely since the rookie years of Darryl Strawberry (1983) and Dwight Gooden (1984). He was a beat reporter assigned to cover the Mets during the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
- Sports & Recreation
- New York Mets
- Matt Harvey
- Tommy John surgery