Our worst fears have been confirmed after Luis Mateo pulled up lame with elbow pain back in mid-April. The 23-year-old flamethrower has indeed undergone Tommy John surgery — so says Baseball America's Matt Eddy:
#Mets RHP Luis Mateo, who made just 4 appearances this year because of elbow trouble, had Tommy John surgery this week.— Matt Eddy (@MattEddyBA) June 19, 2013
Mateo's agent chimed in to clarify that the surgery took place last Tuesday and add that stitches were to come out earlier today.
This news comes after Mateo spent upwards of a month resting and rehabbing the arm in an attempt to avoid surgery. After a stellar season debut, the righty injured himself making a spot start for Double-A Binghamton in his second start of the season. He was able to get back on the field to make a pair of relief appearances for St. Lucie at the beginning of June. However, while reports on his stuff were not available, he was beat up pretty good in his last appearance.
As we've alluded to before, for whatever reason the Mets played this one pretty close to the vest — which is why we're hearing about this so far after the fact. Yet it's probably safe to assume, based on the results, that — as we heard directly before he was pulled the first time around — the stuff was likely pretty down compared to the dominant mid-90s heat he generally features.
It's unfortunate news for a kid that really put himself on the map with an outstanding 2012 campaign in Brooklyn, where he posted a 2.45 ERA in 12 starts for the Cyclones. Furthermore, scouts were extremely impressed with what they saw from him during spring training and the early 2013 season, portending what could have been a true breakout summer for the hard-throwing righty.
Yet, we can't be too surprised as Mateo has struggled with elbow issues in the past. His first professional contract — signed with the Giants back in 2008 — was voided when a physical revealed bone chips in his pitching elbow. For what it's worth, at the time Tommy John-specialist Dr. Lewis Yocum felt surgery was not required, instead prescribing aggressive rehab.
Oh well, TINSTAAPP.