NEW YORK -- Expecting their closer to miss a minimum of six weeks, the Mets on Wednesday officially placed Bobby Parnell on the disabled list with a partially torn MCL in his right elbow, purchasing the contract of right-hander Kyle Farnsworth. Parnell will rest for the next two weeks, then begin a four-week rehab program that will determine if he can avoid Tommy John surgery.
"I think Bobby wants to try," general manager Sandy Alderson said of his choosing rehab over surgery. "We certainly endorse the conservative approach for the time being."
Even if Parnell can successfully rehab his elbow ligament, Alderson said, the tear will remain. That means Parnell will always be at risk of completely tearing the ligament.
Rehabbing will also cost Parnell a critical month of recovery time should he ultimately opt to undergo Tommy John surgery, which typically requires a 12-month rehab. But both he and the Mets felt it was their most prudent course of action.
"There's always a question of timing, and the fact that we're investing a period of time in a conservative approach," Alderson said. "But I think all things considered, the best approach in this case is the conservative route. Hopefully that will work for Bobby, and he'll be back as soon as possible."
Alderson added that when Parnell complained of right forearm tightness after Monday's game, it was the first he knew of any arm injury. Parnell's velocity may have been down throughout Spring Training as he worked his way back from neck surgery, but the closer insisted throughout that he was healthy.
Now he is not, and the Mets are turning to veteran closer Jose Valverde to replace him. Though prospects Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom could play roles in the bullpen later this summer, Alderson said, that will not happen until at least May. So Valverde is the team's exclusive option for the short term.
"I feel bad for Bobby," Valverde said. "What I want is for Bobby to be OK. I saw in Spring Training that he's a great guy and a good teammate. I want this guy to come back soon. I want him closing games for the Mets."