DENVER -- The Mets took a leap of faith in signing the oft-injured Chris Young to fortify their rotation for this season. But that decision has resulted in another gaping hole in the pitching staff as Young is likely lost for the year after being diagnosed Monday with another tear of the anterior capsule in his right shoulder.
"It's the injury that he had last year," said assistant general manager John Ricco, the Mets' executive traveling with the team during this trip. "So it's not the news we were looking for."
It's not really surprising, either. Young spent most of last season with the Padres rehabbing from the capsule tear, and made only four starts after returning. The Mets still decided to roll the dice and gave him an incentive-laden $1.1-million contract for this year that had another $3.4 million in performance bonuses.
Ricco refused to say if Young, 31, was finished for the season, but based on his history, it's probably a safe bet. Mets team physician David Altchek made Monday's diagnosis after examining Sunday's MRI, but Young has not decided on a course of treatment yet.
Surgery is an option as it's a similar injury to the one Johan Santana is rehabbing from in Port St. Lucie. Either way, Young is facing a long road back. After a trouble-free spring training, Young was scratched from an April 17 start in Atlanta because of biceps tendinitis and made only two more before bowing out Saturday when he couldn't get his shoulder loose during a pregame warmup session.
"You're aware of it," manager Terry Collins said. "You watch him throw his bullpens, he gets through spring training and we never saw any discomfort. You never saw any holding back trying to pitch, and you thought, 'OK, he's over this.' It just tells you what the extra adrenaline when the season starts means, what the cold weather can mean."
Young complained of discomfort in the back of the shoulder and Ricco explained that was a symptom of the bigger issue. "They said it was caused by the excessive movement of the ball joint in his shoulder," Ricco said. "So the shoulder was loose, causing pain in the back."
For his brief stay, Young was a flickering bright spot for the rotation. He was 1-0 with a 1.88 ERA and struck out 22 in 24 innings in four starts. Now Dillon Gee, who had been kept at the major-league level as an insurance policy, will take his place.
It's a relatively seamless transition because Gee has pitched well, with a 3.80 ERA in three starts and three relief appearances. But the loss of Young underscores the Mets' critical lack of pitching depth in the organization. Boof Bonser already has been lost to Tommy John surgery and Jenrry Mejia got the same recommendation from Dr. James Andrews Monday.
"I don't know how we can be more protective," Collins said. "I really and truly don't. We have done the best we could to make sure these guys have gotten proper rest, watched their pitch counts, and done as good a job as possible to try and avoid this."Mejia to have surgery. The Mets announced that Mejia will have Tommy John surgery after Andrews concurred with Altchek's original diagnosis. They have not set a date for the surgery, but the rehab usually takes 12 to 18 months.