The New York Mets and Matt Harvey have had a disagreement for a few weeks about how quickly the star pitcher should rehab from his surgery. Harvey wanted to throw off a mound last month, aiming to make 5-7 starts with the Mets before the season concluded. The Mets and their medical staff felt that Harvey was moving too fast and have held him back in the interest of playing it safe. Scott Boras, Harvey's agent, agrees with the Mets approach.
Boras told ESPN New York that he feels the typical rehab from Tommy John Surgery should not last 10-12 months as it does now. Boras argued that the best medical information shows that a pitcher is the most effective after a rehab period of 14-16 months following surgery. Most pitchers have been rehabbing to get back on the mound within a year, and it hasn't always worked out well. Several pitchers have even needed to undergo Tommy John surgery a second time, a fate the Mets are trying to avoid with Harvey.
Harvey underwent surgery on October 22, 2013, and if he followed Boras' time table he would definitely be sidelined for the entire 2014 season. Harvey would, however, be ready for spring training next season. While Boras argued that elite pitchers benefit from a more conservative approach to their rehab, he nonetheless applauded Harvey's desire to get back on a mound as soon as possible.
The Tommy John surgery dilemma is a problem throughout the major leagues. The Mets have three pitchers who underwent the procedure in the last year: Harvey, Bobby Parnell, and Jeremy Hefner. Hefner is the closest of the three to returning, having completed an inning in a rehab game with the Gulf Coast League Mets earlier today. Other big name starters to suffer UCL tears this season include Marlins' ace Jose Fernandez, Diamondbacks' pitchers Patrick Corbin and Bronson Arroyo, and Yankees' phenom Masahiro Tanaka.
The big craze is figuring out how to prevent these talented young pitchers from having to undergo the surgery so frequently. Boras advocated stronger innings limits, primarily by having a pitcher start his professional career between 100-110 innings a year and going up by no more than 10 innings per year if they fit a high velocity profile. Whether it involves changes at the major league level or at youth levels, the Tommy John epidemic is a huge problem for baseball.Tags: Baseball, Matt Harvey, MLB, New York, New York Mets, Scott Boras, Tommy John surgery