Bobby Parnell didn't think much of the muscle soreness he felt near his right elbow. In his mind, it registered as nothing more than the typical aches and pains that come with pitching.
So in the closing days of spring training, the Mets closer sought treatment from the training staff. The soreness calmed down. He kept on pitching, all the way through Monday's season opener, when he blew the save against the Nationals.
After the game, trainers suggested that Parnell have an MRI exam, just to be safe. The test revealed the torn elbow ligament that could alter Parnell's career.
"It's not what my hopes and dreams were for the season," Parnell said Thursday. "This is definitely a tough one to bite, but I'm going to have to get through this bump in the road."
Parnell faces the possibility of Tommy John surgery, but first he will attempt to rehab his elbow, which might allow him to return this season. Doctors have given him a 50-50 chance of avoiding surgery.
"It's a relatively new treatment," said Parnell, who got a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection this week. "They're fairly optimistic that it could work."
Parnell will be shut down for two weeks before starting a throwing program. It will be at least six weeks before he could be ready to throw in a game. But he said he might make a decision sooner. If he has surgery, he said he wants to put himself in position to come back next season.
Parnell had diminished velocity in spring training after surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck. "I don't think it was a direct correlation," he said of the injuries. "I think I obviously didn't have the offseason that I wanted to have as far as strengthening and conditioning and everything like that . . . I think it's just one of those times when it happened because it happened."
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