Righthander Rafael Montero has a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow and will likely need Tommy John surgery, the Mets announced Thursday afternoon.
Montero, who was battling just to hold onto a roster spot, was scheduled to start in Friday’s spring game against the Cardinals in a last-ditch attempt.
It has been a rough journey for the 27-year-old right-hander, who many believed should not have made the team out of spring training, due to how much he had struggled. Montero had allowed nine earned runs and 13 runs overall in just 9.0 innings this spring, yielding 12 hits, six walks, and a hit batter against just 45 batters faced. This comes after a 2017 season in which he posted a 5.52 ERA in 119.0 innings.
he Mets will likely place Montero on the 60-day disabled list, opening up a spot on the 40-man roster. The spot could be taken by a position player like Phil Evans, or perhaps another pitcher like Matt Purke, Drew Smith, or Corey Oswalt.
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“That’s the first time we heard about it,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said before facing the Nationals at First Data Field. “It’s not great for the kid, I feel bad for him but it’s something that happens when you pitch. He’s got a long road ahead of him to recover and we’ll be trying to take care of him the best we can.”
It’s hard to envision a scenario that does not result in Tommy John surgery since it’s a full tear. Pitchers have worked their ways through partial tears such as teammate Seth Lugo, but the complete tear will likely lead to season-ending surgery.
“We’re still wanting to see some things from some guys and make these final couple decisions we make and everybody is in a good spot, they’re making it hard on us,” Callaway said. “I don’t think we can go wrong with whatever we choose to do. That’s the good part of it. The bad part of it is we’re going to give somebody disappointing news and they probably don’t deserve that news. Part of baseball.”