NEW YORK -- The news that Tim Byrdak will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery rippled through his family this week, forcing the left-hander to face his baseball mortality.
"It's been a very emotional two days," an emotional Byrdak said after returning to the clubhouse Thursday. "The hardest part was talking to my two little guys and telling them there's a real good chance their dad might not play big league baseball anymore."
Byrdak still hopes to pitch next year after undergoing surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. But the operation is a rare one, undergone by only a handful of Major League pitchers -- teammates Johan Santana and Chris Young among them. At age 38, Byrdak knows there is a chance he may not recover from it.
Still, Byrdak was unwilling to dish any blame on Mets manager Terry Collins, who berated himself earlier this week for overusing his primary bullpen lefty.
"I never play this game with any kind of regret," said Byrdak, who came to Citi Field on Thursday in part to talk to Santana and Young. "The way I approach myself around here, I'm just going to go out here and have as much fun as I can every day that I can. I made a statement a long time ago that you never know when this game is going to take the jersey away from you, and that's kind of where I'm at now."