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Carlos Carrasco underwent surgery to remove a bone fragment from his right elbow

Surprise! Carrasco was hurt the whole time.

Philadelphia Phillies v New York Mets Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Carlos Carrasco underwent successful surgery yesterday to remove a bone fragment from his right elbow, the Mets announced today. Dr. David Altchek performed the surgery and Carrasco will resume baseball activities “later this winter,” per the team. According to reporting from Anthony DiComo, Carrasco had been aware of the bone fragment for awhile, but attempted to pitch through it. He is expected to be ready to go come spring training next season.

This news explains a lot about Carrasco’s struggles, which were rather pronounced after his return from the injured list in the second half. Over 53 23 innings across 12 starts, Carrasco posted a 6.04 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, and a 67 ERA+. In particular, he struggled early in games and gave up too many home runs—two home runs per nine innings. Carrasco missed the whole first half of the 2021 season with a hamstring strain that was slow to heal. Some of what was previously attributed to his slow ramp-up and lack of spring training or a robust number of rehab starts now has another potential explanation—this bone fragment, which has now been removed.

But the fact remains that Carrasco has now dealt with two major injuries since being traded to the Mets and has yet to provide the type of mid-to-top of the rotation production the Mets were hoping they were getting when they acquired him. And it is somewhat puzzling that Carrasco pitched through this injury and delayed surgery, even after the Mets fell out of the playoff picture. Although Carrasco has the entire offseason to recover and should be ready come spring training, one is left to wonder how much the Mets can rely on him being a sure thing in the rotation in 2022.