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Parnell elects to undergo Tommy John surgery

Parnell elects to undergo Tommy John surgery

NEW YORK -- Mets closer Bobby Parnell will undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, the Mets announced Sunday, thereby ending his season.

Parnell will undergo surgery on Tuesday to replace a partially-torn MCL in his right elbow. The procedure typically requires a 12-month recovery, meaning that by having it now, Parnell can theoretically return in time for Opening Day 2015.

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After an MRI Tuesday revealed the ligament tear in his elbow, the Mets announced that Parnell would attempt to avoid surgery through rehab. Parnell was scheduled to rest for two weeks, after which he would begin a throwing program to determine whether rehab was possible.

That throwing program never happened. A team source said that Parnell talked the situation over with his family and decided he did not want to risk missing any part of the 2015 season. Had he attempted rehab and needed surgery anyway, Parnell would have almost certainly missed a chunk of next season.

Neither Parnell nor general manager Sandy Alderson responded to messages seeking comment.

Jose Valverde, who is 1-for-1 in save opportunities since taking over from Parnell as closer, will pitch the ninth inning for the Mets for the immediate future. If Valverde does not succeed in that role, the Mets could eventually dip into their Minor League system -- Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom are options -- or sign a free-agent closer such as Ryan Madson, Kevin Gregg or Joel Hanrahan.

Parnell is the third Mets pitcher to tear an elbow ligament in the past eight months. Pitchers Matt Harvey and Jeremy Hefner are both currently recovering from Tommy John surgery, and expect to be ready by Opening Day 2015 as well.

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.

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