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Mets Pitcher Matt Harvey Changes Mind, Opts for Surgery on Elbow

NY Mets Pitcher Matt Harvey
New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey has a partly torn ulnar collateral ligament, or UCL, in his right elbow. Photographer: Mike Stobe/Getty Images

New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey decided to have surgery on his right elbow, reversing course after earlier planning an attempt to rehabilitate the injury.

James Andrews, who has operated on dozens of professional athletes including New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte and National Football League quarterback Chad Pennington, will perform the surgery to repair a partial tear of Harvey’s ulnar collateral ligament later this month, the Mets said yesterday in an e-mailed statement.

The team did not disclose how long it expected Harvey, 24, to be out of action.

Andrews specializes in the operation known as Tommy John surgery, in which the UCL -- the primary stabilizing ligament in the inner elbow -- is replaced with a tendon from another part of the patient’s body.

The procedure is named after the former major league pitcher who first had the surgery in 1974. Tommy John surgery requires about a year of recovery time, meaning Harvey would be lost for the entire 2014 season. Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg had the surgery in September 2010 and returned almost exactly a year later.

The Mets said on Sept. 17 that Harvey decided to forgo immediate surgery in favor of a program to strengthen the injury with the goal of pitching in 2014. He had planned to begin a six-to-eight week throwing program, after which he would decide whether surgery was necessary.

In his second year with the Mets, Harvey was one of Major League Baseball’s most dominant pitchers this season, going 9-5 with a 2.27 earned run average in 178 1/3 innings, striking out 191 batters. He started the All-Star Game at the Mets’ Citi Field.

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