NEW YORK -- Mets coach and former American League Cy Young Award winner Frank Viola is resting comfortably after successful heart surgery Wednesday, the team announced.
Viola, who pitched for the Mets, Twins, Red Sox, Reds and Blue Jays over a 15-year career, had been preparing to serve as pitching coach this season for the Mets' Triple-A Las Vegas affiliate. Instead, Tom Signore will fill that role while Viola recuperates.
"He certainly wants to be back, but I think we'll let the doctors dictate when he does come back," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said of Viola's possible return to Vegas this season. "When he's ready and he's able, I'm sure he'll be out there, but we want to make sure he's fully recovered from this surgery first."
Can't thank everybody enough for all the kind words and support! Will get through this surgery and be back soon. Good luck all affiliates!!- Frank J. Viola, Jr. (@FrankViola16) April 2, 2014
Viola, 53, initially detected his heart condition through a physical in Spring Training. A pitching coach in the Mets' system for the past three years, he went 176-150 with a 3.73 ERA in his career, starring on a Twins team that won the World Series in 1987. The following year, Viola posted a 24-7 record and a 2.64 ERA en route to the AL's Cy Young Award.
The Mets acquired Viola in a blockbuster trade that sent Rick Aguilera and Kevin Tapani to the Twins at the non-waiver Trade Deadline in 1989, and he went on to win 20 games in his first full season in New York. Viola later pitched for the Red Sox from 1992-94, then briefly for the Reds and Blue Jays in 1995 and '96.
Viola's son, Frank III, is a pitcher in the Jays organization and his daughter, Brittany, is an Olympic platform diver. Frank III tweeted Wednesday that the surgery "went great," after his father tweeted his own thoughts on the eve of his operation.
"Can't thank everybody enough for all the kind words and support! Will get through this surgery and be back soon. Good luck all affiliates!!" Viola wrote, later adding: "One last thing: I have an incredible support team. Thanks and love you all!!"