Starting pitcher Shaun Marcum, who has been pitching with numbness in his fingers, has been diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome. The syndrome“involves pain in the neck and shoulder, numbness and tingling of the fingers, and a weak grip.”
According to assistant general manager John Ricco, Marcum was given the option of attempting to rehab, but chose surgery instead. The surgery will be performed next Monday in St. Louis, and will result in Marcum missing the remainder of the season.
The 31 year old Marcum was signed this offseason to a one year, $4 million dollar deal with incentives. He started to have issues during Spring Training, and struggled this season, pitching to a 5.29 ERA and 1.35 WHIP over 78.1 innings. If Marcum hadn’t been diagnosed with this condition, there was a strong likelihood the Mets would’ve cut bait with him anyway since his incentives were due to start kicking in.
To replace Marcum on the roster, right handed reliever Gonzalez Germen has been called up from AAA and will be active tonight.
Marcum’s vacant rotation spot will be filled in the short term by Carlos Torres, who has been tremendous out of the Mets’ bullpen since being called up. In 15.2 innings, Torres has a 0.57 ERA and 0.70 WHIP. He’s given up 9 hits, walked 2 and struck out 14.
If Jonathon Niese‘s rehab goes smoothly (he was cleared to begin a throwing program in Port St. Lucie yesterday), he’ll replace Torres in the starting rotation upon his return to the Mets.
Marcum, who has a career ERA of 3.88, was a solid signing by the Mets. The type of deal the Mets gave Marcum (minor dollars for one season), is exactly the type of contract rebuilding clubs should be handing out. There was always a risk involved when it came to signing a player with Marcum’s injury history, but that doesn’t mean the gamble was a poor one.