The Mets' right-hander will have surgery Friday in to repair damage to a shoulder artery, according to a source with knowledge of the impending operation.
The Mets have another pitching concern on their hands to open the second half of the season. Dillon Gee is having surgery on Friday to repair a damaged artery in his pitching shoulder, an operation that could knock him out of the rest of the season.
The Mets, who most thought needed bullpen help to continue contending, now have a hole in their starting rotation, too. It’s unclear how they will address their pitching beyond calling up lefty reliever Josh Edgin, who will join the team Friday for the second-half opener in Atlanta.
Gee is slated to undergo surgery Friday in St. Louis, and the procedure will be performed by Dr. Robert Thompson, a prominent specialist, at the Barnes-Jewish Hospital, according to a source with knowledge of the operation. Mets doctors discovered a blood clot in an artery in Gee’s shoulder Monday after the righty complained of numbness in the fingers of his pitching hand.
“It’s probably not likely he returns this year, but it’s possible,” the source said. “Most players who have had it resumed throwing six to eight weeks after the procedure. More importantly, it’ll insure Dillon’s long-term health. He’ll have a full recovery and no issues going into (spring training).”
Team doctors dissolved the original blood clot with a catheter and medicine at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and Gee was kept in the hospital. The Mets announced Wednesday that Gee would be discharged and then would mull over further treatment, which could include surgery.
Blood thinners, the source said, were another treatment option, but half of the artery in question was damaged, and the blood thinners would not fix that. Because of the likelihood that blood clots would resurface, Gee was going to need surgery at some point, the source said.
Gee, 26, who is 6-7 with a 4.10 ERA in 17 starts this season, was supposed to start Friday’s second-half opener. Chris Young will start in Gee’s place and be followed by R.A. Dickey and either Jon Niese or Johan Santana in the series finale. Santana was originally going to open the second half, but the Mets wanted him to have extra rest for his right ankle.
Terry Collins told reporters in Kansas City during the All-Star festivities that Miguel Batista is likely to take Gee’s spot in the rotation, at least initially. Batista is 1-1 in four starts this season with a 4.00 ERA.
The Mets should not need a fifth starter until at least July 21, which is why they opted for Edgin, who gives them a second lefthander in the bullpen along with Tim Byrdak. Edgin, who was a candidate to make the big-league roster out of spring training after it looked as if Byrdak would not recover in time to break camp with the team, is 3-2 with a 3.89 ERA in 35 games with Triple-A Buffalo this season.
Other candidates for the rotation could include Jeremy Hefner, who was 1-2 with a 6.89 ERA in three starts earlier this season, or Chris Schwinden, who was 0-1 with a 12.46 ERA in three games (two starts).
An intriguing choice could be prospect Matt Harvey, who is 7-3 with a 3.39 ERA and threw two hitless innings in the Triple-A All-Star Game Wednesday. Buffalo manager Wally Backman told the Daily News’ John Harper Tuesday that he thought Harvey, though green, could help the Mets, but the Mets don’t want to promote him too quickly.
They’ve got to give the rotation some sort of quick fix. With Dickey and Santana leading the way, starting pitching has been a Mets strength.
Entering the second half, Mets starters are 35-23 and third in the majors in ERA (3.55) and strikeouts (465) and tied for fourth in opponents’ batting average (.244).
WORD ON THE STREET
If the Mets swing a trade with the Padres for All-Star closer Huston Street, the pitcher says he’d have no problem patching up his past issues with Mets bench coach Bob Geren.
“If I get to the Mets, that’ll be the first bug I go squash,” Street told cbssports.com. Street, whom the Mets have inquired about, told the San Francisco Chronicle that Geren, his former manager in Oakland, was “my least favorite person I have ever encountered in sports from age 6 to 27.”
“You’re going to have professional differences,” Street told the website. “I sometimes think had I been a little older and little more mature, perhaps I would have reacted differently to the decisions that affected me. I think I’m as much to blame for a lot of it.
“If I were to get traded to the Mets, it would be up to me to handle it and be professional,” Street added. “I play hard for my teammates, and he’d be my teammate again.”
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