LOS ANGELES -- A follow-up examination on Jeremy Hefner's right elbow Wednesday revealed that he has a partially torn MCL in the joint. The Mets placed Hefner on the disabled list retroactive to Saturday, reversing the Minor League option they used on him last weekend.
The injury, according to a team spokesman, is a "chronic condition," which manager Terry Collins said he has been aware of for approximately two months. Hefner should require nothing more than rest and rehab, and the Mets fully expect him to pitch again this season.
"Everything I've heard, there's a good possibility he'll be back," Collins said. "I think it's just some rest and some strengthening stuff, and he should be able to come back."
In the interim, the Mets will continue with a five-man rotation, making it more difficult for Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler to make it to the end of September given their innings limits. But the Mets knew they could not continue trotting out an injured Hefner, who posted a 9.13 ERA in five starts after the All-Star break, compared to a 1.76 ERA in his final eight starts leading up to it.
"This certainly had a lot to do with it, I don't think there's any question about that," Collins said of Hefner's injury and decline in performance. "I know he could pitch with it -- that's why he did. We just saw such a big difference that there had to be something, which we tried to address."
Still, because Hefner's examination revealed a relatively mild injury, the Mets are maintaining optimism about his future.
"I do know that there's a lot of guys who pitch with this," Collins said. "It's chronic. It's something that didn't just happen two weeks ago. He's had this and he's pitched with it and -- by the way -- he pitched pretty stinkin' good."