Mets pitcher Matt Harvey, who was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his right elbow in August, is approaching crunch time in his attempt to avoid Tommy John surgery.
After meeting with team doctors and noted orthopedic surgeon James Andews, Harvey elected to attempt a six to eight week strengthening and rehabilitation program instead of having immediate surgery that would’ve knocked him out for most, if not all of 2014.
While speaking to the media on Sunday, Mets manager Terry Collins noted that Harvey was undergoing intense rehabilitation at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan and that he’d head to Florida to begin throwing as soon as doctors deemed him ready. Yesterday, Sandy Alderson addressed the matter:
The fact that he’s not throwing now, I wouldn’t say is concerning, but we need to see some progress. I hope that he will be throwing shortly. I want to emphasize this isn’t a rehab program. This is a diagnostic program. We’ll see what happens.
Once Harvey is cleared to head to Florida, he’ll start a throwing program. Alderson noted a little over a week ago that he wanted to see Harvey in competitive action – suggesting that he might appear in a few games during the Arizona Fall League. According to Alderson, anything short of that would likely not be sufficient enough to adequately judge Harvey’s health and readiness.
Sandy Alderson is almost always measured with his words. Yesterday, he sounded like someone who wasn’t even close to convinced that Matt Harvey would be able to avoid surgery.
Still, it doesn’t really matter what Alderson (or anyone) thinks. Matt Harvey is adamant in his quest to avoid surgery, and he’ll likely be able to do just that if he gets through his throwing program pain free.
As Alderson points out, though, the Mets need to know Harvey’s status in the near term. The Arizona Fall League kicks off a week from today (October 8th), and runs through November 16th. In order for Harvey to be able to participate, he’ll have to be cleared to throw sooner rather than later.
If Harvey appears in several games in the AFL without incident, it’ll give the Mets some clarity and confidence. If Harvey is unable to get through his strengthening and rehab program, it’s likely that he’ll have surgery and return in 2015. In a month or so, we’ll probably know in which direction Harvey is headed.