The New York Mets received some bad news last week, when they learned that one of their best and most consistent relievers, Seth Lugo, will need surgery to remove a bone spur in his throwing elbow. He won’t pick up a ball for the next six weeks, and then, he will have to complete rehab and get himself into game shape.
It could be May before we see Lugo on a major league mound again. Yet the pitcher is happy with the diagnosis, because it could have been much, much worse.
In an interview with MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, the Mets’ reliever confessed he felt that something was not right with his elbow last week. It began swelling and it wouldn’t subside, so he reported the issue after waiting a couple of days.
The Mets scheduled an MRI, which discovered a bone spur that had broken off his right elbow.
Lugo is no stranger to elbow problems. In fact, he has been pitching with a partially torn UCL in his elbow since 2017, much like former Yankees’ pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.
“I’ve been optimistic since [Friday],” Lugo said. “Last week, I was sitting there thinking, ‘If I tore [a ligament], my career might be over, so this is devastating.’ But I feel really good now that it’s just [the bone spur]. … The worst-case scenario was, I don’t pitch again, ever, so I’m pretty happy.”
A huge blow for the Mets
Lugo has been a bullpen stalwart for the Mets, but now, he will have to get his surgery, rest, and rehab. Now, he is just relieved the swelling in his elbow stemmed from the loose bone spur and not his UCL.
“I was actually pretty happy about [the diagnosis],” said Lugo, who according to DiComo opted to rehab his UCL rather than undergo Tommy John surgery in 2017. “It was good news for me, minus missing a little bit of time. … This is kind of the first thing that’s ever popped up ever since — I don’t want to say the UCL. I don’t want to bring it up. With the MRI [on Friday], it looked great. The doctor was really impressed with how it wound up.”
“I’m just going to have the surgery and go from there,” Lugo said.
The New York Mets are well-prepared to cope with Lugo’s temporary loss. They have Edwin Diaz and Trevor May as a late-inning tandem, with fellow new signing Aaron Loup ready to take the ball when needed. Bounceback candidate such as Dellin Betances and Jeurys Familia figure to offer competent innings, too, and the team is reportedly after Trevor Rosenthal.