Per the Mets, minor league right-handed pitcher Jeff Walters, 26, has a torn UCL in his right elbow.
The Mets did not disclose the severity of the tear, but it’s highly likely that Walters will undergo Tommy John surgery to repair it.
It’s possible that Walters will opt for rehab in an effort to avoid surgery, but three Mets pitchers – Matt Harvey, Jeremy Hefner, and Bobby Parnell – have all recently opted for Tommy John surgery before attempting to rehab their UCL tears.
Walters had been pitching out of the bullpen for Triple-A Las Vegas, where he posted an 8.86 ERA in 21.1 innings pitched.
After serving as Binghamton’s closer in 2013, Walters was in spring training with the Mets this season and would’ve likely made his major league debut at some point this summer had the injury not occurred.
With the news that he has a torn UCL, it’s fair to wonder if Walters’ poor performance this year was due in large part to his injury, but it’s unknown at what point the injury was sustained.
The Mets have moved Jenrry Mejia to the bullpen and seen Jeurys Familia come into his own in 2014. They’ve also gotten solid contributions from both Josh Edgin and Vic Black, which lessens the blow of apparently losing Walters for roughly a year.
However, this is an unfortunate setback for both Walters and the organization.