Matt Harvey‘s 2013 season is over. His 2014 season will almost certainly be shortened, if he has one at all.
In case you missed yesterday’s big news, Harvey, the electric New York Mets right-hander, has a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He will try to avoid Tommy John surgery by receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection instead.
Chad Billingsley found himself in a similar position around this time last year. We don’t know how Harvey’s ligament tear compares to Billingsley’s, but we do know how that course of treatment worked out for Billingsley.
Harvey is the latest pitcher to face the dreaded torn UCL but he certainly won’t be the last. So once you’ve accepted that the National League Cy Young award is essentially Clayton Kershaw‘s to lose, here’s a more important long-term question presented by Harvey’s injury: Is Kershaw likely to suffer the same injury anytime soon?
One-third of all major-league pitchers have had Tommy John surgery, according to a recent study by Bleacher Report. So there’s that. There’s also this analysis today via FanGraphs that concludes “it was all but impossible to know this injury was coming.”
Delving into the specifics, author Jeff Zimmerman a small drop in Harvey’s fastball velocity in his past six games. This is not a problem for Kershaw at the moment. Check out Zimmerman’s other possible red-flags. Kershaw should have nothing to worry about.
Of course, neither did Harvey.
A few more links for a Tuesday morning:
• A portion of Main Street in Evansville, Indiana, will now be known as Don Mattingly Way.
• Here are 65 things you might not have known about Vin Scully (and some you probably did).
• The presumptive new single-season home run record holder in Japan (Wladimir Balentien) used to play minor-league baseball in San Bernardino.
• The pitcher who began the season as the Colorado Rockies’ closer has a potentially career-ending injury. (Bonus points if you remember who began the season as the Rockies’ closer.)
• Here’s an indie-rock classic that spent a lot of time in my portable CD player when I was in high school: