Jeremy Hefner was hit on his pitching elbow by a one-hopper up the middle in the New York Mets’ spring training game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday. Former Met Carlos Beltran sent the ball right back to Hefner, who left the game after the play. The Hefner injury was not considered serious at the time, but the team took X-rays as a precaution.
The X-rays came back negative, as Hefner was diagnosed with an elbow contusion. Despite lingering stiffness in the elbow, Hefner claims that he will be ready for his first regular season start, and that he expects to break camp with the team. Hefner was put into New York’s rotation to fill the spot of the Mets’ injured ace Johan Santana. If Hefner were to miss even his first start, it would be really tough on a team facing a plethora of injuries on their roster. Fellow starting pitcher Shaun Marcum, who the Mets brought in this offseason, is also injured as he nurses an injured neck going into the season.
Marcum and Hefner have both stated that they will be ready for the start of the season with Santana headed for the disabled list for the time being. Hefner will likely start the Mets fourth game of the season, which is April 5 against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. The 27-year-old pitcher struggled in his time in the MLB last season, with a 4-7 record in 13 starts. After a solid spring training and pitching staff injuries, Hefner will get another chance with the Mets, as long as his elbow is ready.