One day after Mets closer Bobby Parnell blew his first save opportunity of the season on Opening Day, the team has announced he has a partial tear of the MCL in his right elbow.
“Bobby Parnell was examined this morning at HSS after complaining of tightness in right forearm after yesterday’s game,” the team released in a statement on Twitter Tuesday. “After an MRI & clinical evaluation, he was diagnosed with an incomplete tear of the Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) in his right elbow. He received a Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injection and has been prescribed complete rest for approximately two weeks. After this rest period, he will commence a throwing program, the outcome of which will determine whether elbow surgery will be required.”
Mets starting pitcher Jeremy Hefner also had a partially torn MCL in his throwing arm last season and ended up requiring Tommy John surgery. He will miss all of the 2014 season.
Parnell, who usually throws in the high-90s, was noticeably down in velocity Monday. He allowed two hits and a walk, plus the game-tying run in the ninth inning.
The likely replacement for Parnell will be Jose Valverde, who was signed as almost an afterthought in the offseason. But Valverde pitched well in spring training and earned a spot in the bullpen. He was the lone bright spot in the Mets’ bullpen on Opening Day. He pitched 1 1/3 innings, allowed no base runners and struck out three of the batters he faced.
Valverde was closer for Arizona, Houston and Detroit in his career. He led the league in saves three times (2007, 2008, 2011) and has 286 saves in his career.
Parnell, 29, was in his second year as the Mets’ full-time closer. He had 22 saves and a 2.16 ERA last season. He struck out 44 batters in 50 innings. He did miss time with a neck injury as well.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.