The Mets’ pitching staff has been spectacular over the past two years with Matt Harvey at the center of attention since he came up. However, Harvey has had his fair share of health troubles over his career.
Harvey made his debut in 2012 and played most of the 2013 season before having Tommy John in October of 2013. TJ kept him off the mound in 2014. He returned in the 2015 season only to win NL Comeback Player of the Year and help lead his team to the World Series. However, his 2016 season has been rocky… to say the least. He is sporting a 4-10 record with a 4.86 ERA, per Baseball Reference. His average fastball velocity is down from 2015. In 2015, Harvey’s average fastball velocity was 95.8 mph but in 2016 it is 94, per ESPN.
This led to him being diagnosed earlier this week with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. TOS is defined as, “a condition whereby symptoms are produced from compression of nerves or blood vessels, or both, because of an inadequate passageway through an area between the base of the neck and the armpit, which is called the thoracic outlet.” (MedicineNet) The symptoms include neck pain, shoulder pain, arm pain, numbness and tingling of the fingers, and impaired circulation to the extremities. Sounds pretty uncomfortable as a pitcher, right? This guy is only trying to do what’s for his career and his team. As a guy with a history of shoulder surgery (for a torn labrum), I can speak from experience and I’ll tell you that having the slightest bit of discomfort makes you feel like someone else (not in a good way either). Not all pitchers have had success coming off of TOS surgery, though. Josh Beckett and Chris Carpenter both practically had their career ended by TOS surgery but both of them were older at the time of their retirement. Matt Harrison and world-champion Chris Young are both success stories though. Matt Harvey has been one of my favorite pitchers since he came into the league in 2012. I hope to see him comeback as the same pitcher that he has been when he’s been healthy. He has unbelievable potential; let us not forget that he was a Cy Young winner in 2013. Good luck, Matt.