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The good news for starting pitcher Matt Harvey and New York Mets fans is he finally knows what has been hampering his ability to pitch effectively and how to fix it.
The bad news is the fix will require season-ending surgery taking one of the Mets’ leaders and most effective pitchers in last season’s playoff run off the roster for the remainder of this season.
Harvey announced Friday he has opted for surgery to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which has contributed to a poor first half of the season. Harvey, who saw a specialist on Thursday, was the Opening Day starter for the Mets but has gone 4-10 with a 4.86 ERA in 17 starts and also spent time on the disabled list this season.
Thoracic outlet syndrome occurs when muscles in the neck and shoulders impinge on nerves leading to numbness and loss of strength and stamina in the shoulder and arm. Harvey is expected to undergo the surgery some time in the next week or 10 days in St. Louis and the procedure could involve doctors removing one of his ribs to create space and alleviate pressure on the nerve.
Other current and former major league pitchers have had the surgery and returned to pitch effectively. St. Louis starter Jaime Garcia is one such example.
Harvey could have tried nerve-blocking injections to help him get through the remainder of the season, but the injections are not a long-term solution and surgery would have been required at some point in order for Harvey to continue his career.
It is the second major surgery Harvey will have in his career. He previously underwent Tommy John surgery and came back to help lead the Mets to the World Series last season.
Right-handed pitcher Logan Verrett is expected to take Harvey’s spot in the rotation, at least initially. Verrett has pitched in 23 games, including five starts this season with a 4.01 ERA.
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