(Reuters) - All-Star starting pitcher Matt Harvey of the New York Mets has a partially torn ligament in his right elbow and is likely to miss the rest of the Major League Baseball season, the team said on Monday.
Harvey, a candidate for the National League's Cy Young Award and a starter in last month's All-Star Game at his home Citi Field ballpark, was stunned after the tear was revealed by an MRI taken early on Monday in New York.
"Nothing is shooting in my elbow at all," the 24-year-old right-hander told reporters. "That's not the issue. When I heard the news, I was pretty shocked.
"But I'm still very optimistic. I'm going to do everything I can so I don't have to get surgery."
Harvey, who is 9-5 with a 2.27 earned run average this season and a league-leading 191 strikeouts, experienced increased discomfort in his forearm as he gave up a career-high 13 hits in 6-2/3 innings against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday.
"I didn't see velocity issues or anything like that, so obviously I was able to go out there and throw," the right-handed pitcher said.
"Unfortunately this weekend there just happened to be a little more discomfort than in previous starts."
Though Harvey and the Mets hope he will be able to avoid having Tommy John reconstructive surgery, that option has not been ruled out.
"Over the next two or three weeks, the situation with the overall prognosis and ultimate treatment will be determined," said Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson.
"These injuries are often progressive, and so it is conceivable that surgery will be necessary. It's conceivable that no surgery will be necessary at this time and may be necessary at some point down the road.
"We just need to take the time to see how those facts resolve themselves."
The Mets entered Monday's home game against the Philadelphia Phillies 19 games back of the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue