In a devastating blow to the New York Mets, right-hander Matt Harvey has been diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow, general manager Sandy Alderson announced Monday.
Harvey will be placed on the disabled list and prescribed rest for now. Surgery has not been ruled out, the team said.
If Harvey required Tommy John surgery, he would miss most if not all of the 2014 season.
Harvey was sent Monday morning to the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan after complaining of fatigue and mentioning discomfort following a 102-pitch start Saturday against the Detroit Tigers. As part of that exam, Dr. David Altchek had Harvey undergo an MRI that revealed the tear.
Harvey has swelling, but he had not been experiencing pain in the elbow before his last start, Alderson said. He has been getting preventive treatment for his elbow since spring training, as well as recent treatment for his forearm. However, there was no indication of tenderness in the elbow until after his last start.
"I figure everybody is going to go through a stretch there where you've got to battle through some fatigue and some discomfort," Harvey said after Saturday's start. "It's a long season -- 162 games -- and you've got to push through it. Right now I'm not doing a good job of doing that, and we've got to figure something out. The last couple of starts it's been tough getting out there and getting things going. But, like I said, I'm doing a poor job of pushing through it.
"Everything is a learning process. I've never been through this before. So, obviously, paying attention to it and figuring out ways to move past it is all part of learning and growing as a ballplayer."
In the end, Alderson does not believe this situation is the result of any one instance or decision.
"This is not good news, obviously," Alderson said, noting that the team will know more over the next two weeks, during which they will better determine his treatment.
Harvey will have another MRI and exam once swelling goes down in his elbow.
"This is not a career-ending injury under any stretch of the imagination," Alderson said. "We're fortunate we have a lot of pitching depth in our organization."
Harvey is 9-5 this season with a 2.27 ERA and 191 strikeouts, good for first in the National League and fourth overall. He started July's All-Star Game at Citi Field.