During the early portion of this season, Jeremy Hefner was turning heads on the mound for the New York Mets. After a very rough start to the season, it seemed as if in the middle of June that Hefner turned his season around and was able to find his game again. Just when things seemed to start to be on the upswing for Hefner, he began to have pain in his pitching elbow. The pain had gotten so bad that it landed Hefner on the 15-day disabled list.
After some time, the Mets’ doctors felt that the best option for Hefner is to undergo Tommy John surgery because of a partially torn medial collateral ligament. The team said Hefner is mulling whether to seek a second opinion after the club’s orthopedic surgeon, David Altchek, recommended the procedure. It would keep Hefner out for most or perhaps all of next season.
Hefner has a 4-8 record with a 4.34 ERA in his 24 starts. He struggled mightily after the All-Star break, going 0-2 with a 7.58 ERA in his past six starts, with the elbow injury possibly being a reason for it. This leaves Mets manager Terry Collins in a bit of a pinch, as he has to now work with an even thinner pitching staff.
The Mets have been without closer Bobby Parnell with the injured neck, and will also be without Jenrry Mejia, who is out with bone spurs in his pitching elbow. So, the Mets pitching staff looks a lot like the walking wounded. I can see why the Mets want to have this procedure go through with Hefner, but at the same time, part of me still doesn’t fully trust Mets doctors.
I’ve had trust issues with Mets doctors ever since they mishandled the whole injury situation with Ike Davis a few years back, so there is a small amount of a trust issue there. I know there hasn’t been another problem with the Mets medical staff since the Davis incident, but when it comes to pitchers, I don’t want the team to really take any chances. Again it may not mean a whole hill of beans, but that’s just the way I see it.
The fact that Hefner wants a second opinion on this is telling me something. It shows that even Hefner isn’t sure about the diagnosis with the injury. Again, I’m still sure the Mets doctors know what they are doing, but it would be a smart move to get the second opinion on the injury and if surgery is going to be required.
In some cases, a pitcher who has undergone Tommy John Surgery hasn’t been able to find their game again. Hefner is concerned about this, and with good reason. There’s no promise that this surgery will truly fix Hefner’s arm. Hell, it’s not even known if surgery will be needed. The smartest thing for both Hefner, and the team, would be to get a second opinion. That way it will be set in stone if it can fix the elbow trouble and allow Hefner to continue with his career.
Whatever the end result, let’s hope Hefner can get back on the mound again as quickly as possible