NEW YORK -- The news did not necessarily come as a shock to Mets right-hander Jeremy Hefner, because, in his words, "I was hurting a lot more than I was leading on." But it was still difficult for Hefner to hear that he will almost certainly undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery to replace a torn MCL in his right elbow.
"I think I expected it a lot more than I was leading on," Hefner said. "I was trying to pitch through it. I was trying to make it to the end of the year."
Instead, Hefner will receive a second opinion Monday from orthopedist Dr. James Andrews, with the understanding that he will almost certainly undergo Tommy John surgery in the coming weeks. Hefner will also have a sizeable bone spur and several loose bodies removed from the same elbow.
"I threw through some stuff that maybe I shouldn't have thrown through, but I was trying to establish myself," he said.
For a long while, Hefner did exactly that, going 4-4 with a 2.78 ERA, 74 strikeouts and 20 walks from April 25 through the All-Star break. He was one of the best pitchers in baseball over that span.
But Hefner was not the same after the break, going 0-2 with a 9.13 ERA in five starts, before the Mets revealed that he had been pitching through pain. A subsequent evaluation revealed the partially torn MCL in his elbow, though Hefner initially held out hope that he might avoid surgery.
But Hefner came away from a follow-up examination Tuesday understanding that "it's definitely looking like Tommy John."