Team Doctors Say Elbow Surgery Is 50/50 For Parnell

An article by posted on April 3, 2014 0 Comments

bobby parnell

April 3

Bobby Parnell indicated Thursday that team doctors have told him it is “50-50” whether he will require Tommy John surgery.

The injured closer added that he may make a decision about whether to have surgery in two weeks — not wait the full six weeks that includes a throwing program Sandy Alderson laid out Wednesday.

That’s because Tommy John surgery has a 10- to 14-month recovery time, and Parnell wants to ensure he does not affect his availability for 2015 if he needs to proceed with the ligament-replacement surgery.

“I want to make sure if I do have surgery I give myself the best bet to get back for next year and have the recovery time,” Parnell said.

At least Parnell is looking at this in a logical manner and carefully considering the ramifications if he waits too long on a decision.

April 2

Bobby Parnell was diagnosed with an incomplete tear of the MCL ligament in his right elbow on Tuesday.

Parnell complained of tightness in his right forearm after the team’s 9-7 loss on Monday in which he blew the save. The Mets sent him to Manhattan’s Hospital for Special Surgery the following morning, where doctors discovered the tear after an MRI and clinical evaluation.

He received a Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injection and has been prescribed complete rest for approximately two weeks, then a one month throwing program before he’ll be reevaluated and learn whether or not he needs Tommy John surgery.

Sandy Alderson spoke to reporters on Wednesday at Citi Field to address the situation and said that Monday after the game was the first time he was informed that Parnell was experiencing any discomfort.

When asked if the Mets should have known there was problem based on Parnell’s decreased velocity, Alderson said that a loss in velocity is not always a precursor to an elbow injury.

Parnell’s tear is in a thicker part of the ligament, but that won’t change the recovery period if he needs Tommy John  surgery, Alderson said.

Alderson will not be addressing the shortage in the bullpen through trade or free agency, preferring instead to wait a month to see how the current bullpen performs.

He also believes that help could come from Triple-A, but not for another month or two. He said some minor league starters could get reps in the bullpen, but that would not apply to Noah Syndergaard.

With Parnell placed on the 15-day disabled list, the Mets called up 37-year-old reliever Kyle Farnsworth.

For the time being, 36-year-old Jose Valverde, who signed a minor-league deal for a chance to resurrect his career, will take over as the team’s closer.

As for who will setup, Terry Collins said he will eventually like to go with two relievers, a lefty and a righty to share the role, but he did not know who those pitchers could be right now.

For now, the Mets bullpen is comprised of Valverde (5.59 ERA in 2013) and Farnsworth (4.70), plus Jeurys FamiliaScott RiceJohn LannanCarlos Torres, and Gonzalez Germen.

it’s a pen fraught with many questions and one that will be banking on three February scrapheap signings to do most of the heavy lifting.

All of the new additions were bought in on minor league deals and nobody proven was added even though the Mets knew Parnell was less than six months removed from spinal surgery on his neck and that Vic Black was far from a sure thing given his well documented bouts with inconsistency.

The Mets bullpen has been among the leagues worst during Sandy Alderson’s tenure and this news on Parnell strikes a major blow to a bullpen he expected to support a 90 win season.

NL Bullpen Rank Last 5 Years

2009 – 3.89 ERA Ranked 8th

2010 – 3/59 ERA Ranked 5th

2011 – 4.33 ERA Ranked 15th

2012 – 4.65 ERA Ranked 15th

2013 – 3.98 ERA Ranked 12th

Valverde had a solid appearance on Monday coming off a good Spring Training, but he’s still far from a sure thing.

As the team gets ready to play only their second game of the season tonight against the Nationals, add another critical component of the team to the questionable column.

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I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.