New York Mets pitcher Dillon Gee was found to have a blood clot in an artery in his right shoulder after being hospitalized in New York.
Gee, who was placed on Major League Baseball’s 15-day disabled list, was admitted to New York-Presbyterian Hospital yesterday after complaining of numbness in the fingers of his pitching hand, the team said in an e-mailed statement.
Doctors used a catheter to break up the clot and he’ll remain hospitalized for the next day or two to ensure that the problem is fully resolved, the Mets said. The timing of his return to baseball is undetermined.
“A lot of it depends on why the blood clot formed in the first place,” Richard Becker, the director of the cardiovascular thrombosis Center at the Duke University School of Medicine, said in a telephone interview. “A majority of the time it’s due to something called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, or TOS. That is where there’s compression within an area of the shoulder of either the nerve, artery or the vein.”
Gee, a 26-year-old right-hander, has a 6-7 record this year with a 4.10 earned run average. A third-year player who was drafted by the Mets in 2007, Gee is 21-15 with a 4.06 ERA for his career as a major-leaguer.
Becker said Gee probably will be kept on blood-thinning medication while undergoing additional tests to determine if he has Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.
“There are treatments that sometimes include a non-invasive surgery to open up an area that’s compressing the artery, the vein or the nerve,” Becker said. “Depending on what they find or decide to do, it may be a matter of weeks.”
Becker said the repetitive throwing motion of pitchers puts them at risk for blood clots. He said the clots usually aren’t career-threatening and can be addressed through surgery or a non-invasive procedure.
David Cone, a one-time Mets pitcher, missed four months of action while pitching for the New York Yankees in 1996 after being diagnosed with an aneurysm in his pitching arm. An aneurysm is a widening of an artery, vein or the heart, and Becker said it’s a variant of TOS. The Mets didn’t mention an aneurysm among Gee’s possible issues.
The Mets are 46-40 this season, 4 1/2 games behind the National League East-leading Washington Nationals at the All-Star break. The major-league All-Star Game is tonight in Kansas City.