Elbow surgery set for Mets' reliever Familia

Elbow surgery set for Mets' reliever Familia

WASHINGTON -- Barely a year removed from establishing himself among the game's top pitching prospects, reliever Jeurys Familia will undergo surgery Wednesday to remove "bone spurs and loose bodies from his right elbow," according to a release. General manager Sandy Alderson estimated that Familia can begin throwing again in "six to eight weeks."

Familia, 23, posted a 3.48 ERA in eight games this season, before the Mets placed him on the disabled list May 12 with right biceps tendinitis. He converted to relief work full-time late last summer, after producing a 4.73 ERA in 28 starts for Triple-A Buffalo.

Earlier that year, Familia ranked 90th on MLB.com's Prospect Watch, joining Zack Wheeler (28th) and Matt Harvey (38th) in one of baseball's most highly touted starting pitching trios. But while Harvey has dazzled as a big leaguer and Wheeler has developed into a top-10 prospect, Familia has yet to live up to expectations.

Still, the Mets believed they found a niche for Familia at the back end of the bullpen, where his lack of a reliable third pitch was not as glaring. Familia took to the role, showcasing a mid-90s fastball and even earning a save earlier this season in Atlanta, before elbow trouble derailed him.

Though Alderson wrote in a text message that "six to eight weeks would be a good estimate" for Familia to resume throwing, the Mets offered no official timetable for his return. When former closer Frank Francisco underwent a similar procedure in mid-December, the Mets estimated he would begin a throwing program within six weeks. Francisco was indeed throwing by February, but later suffered a series of setbacks and is currently shut down.

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.