All done with surgery! Doctor said everything went well! Appreciate your kind words
— Jeremy Hefner (@jeremy_hefner53) August 28, 2013
Hefner, 27, opted to have the surgery after receiving a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews on the partially torn MCL in his pitching elbow.
Hefner was having a tremendous season until the middle of July. He entered his start on July 19th with a 3.33 ERA, but proceeded to give up 23 runs over his next 22.2 innings pitched while his ERA ballooned to 4.34.
After his start on August 9th, Hefner approached the Mets and told them that he had been pitching hurt. He later explained to the media that he wanted to pitch through the pain, but once his performance began to negatively impact the team in a significant way, he decided it was time to let the team know he was pitching through pain. Once he was examined, the diagnosis of a torn MCL was made, and he was shut down.
The recovery time for Tommy John Surgery is roughly 12 months, so the expectation is that Hefner could be back on the big league mound this time next year.
Hefner was an afterthought at the beginning of the year, but proved to be more than a capable back of the rotation starter before he injured himself.
Hefner’s injury (along with the uncertainty surrounding Matt Harvey) has put a dent in the team’s pitching depth. However, with Zack Wheeler, Jonathon Niese, Jenrry Mejia, and Dillon Gee all set to be part of the 2014 rotation, Hefner may have simply been a placeholder until one of Rafael Montero or Noah Syndergaard was deemed ready.
Still, Hefner shouldn’t be forgotten. Once he recovers, he could still potentially slide into the rotation if needed, or work out of the bullpen as a true long-man/spot starter.