Dillon Gee on road to recovery
WASHINGTON -- Right-hander Dillon Gee said he lost near-complete feeling in his right arm and doctors could not find a pulse in the limb the day after his final first-half start for the New York Mets.
Five days later, on Friday, Gee was undergoing surgery at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis to patch a damaged artery in his pitching shoulder that had been 96 percent blocked. Dr. Robert Thompson used a vein from Gee's groin to enlarge the artery.
As soon as they told me they couldn't even feel a pulse in my right arm I got pretty scared.” -- Dillon Gee
Gee, who was discharged from the hospital Monday, said he may resume throwing in six weeks and hopes to return before the end of the season, although 2013 may be a more realistic goal.
"Right now I feel good," Gee said in St. Louis before boarding a flight to New York. "My arm feels good. All the symptoms are gone. So that's a positive. It's been a long week for me. This thing kind of came out of the blue and hit me really fast. To be honest with you, it was very scary at first, kind of tough to go through.
"Once we figured out it was going to be OK, my feelings went from being scared to being just disappointed really fast."
Doctors in New York dissolved a clot earlier last week with medication via a catheter. Medical personnel told Gee his life was never endangered. Had the clot in his shoulder dislodged, it would have traveled no further than his pitching hand and got stuck.
However, had he not treated the issue when he did, Gee could have suffered permanent muscle-tissue damage that may have jeopardized his career. Gee said he had "very sporadically" experienced numbness in the tip of his right middle finger since 2010.
"I didn't really think much about it, because it always went away and I never felt it during games," Gee said. "So I never really said anything. And then, all of a sudden, this year I don't know if I finally just got one big clot in my shoulder."
His arm felt weak after his final first-half start, when he limited the Chicago Cubs to one run in eight innings on July 7. The following day his arm felt "tired and heavy" and started going numb.
"That's definitely the worst it's ever gotten," Gee said. "It creeped all the way up to my shoulder. That's when I knew something definitely wasn't the same. I went into the training room and had some of the doctors look at it. As soon as they told me they couldn't even feel a pulse in my right arm I got pretty scared."
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Gee said doctors informed him the artery damage likely was the result of his repetitive pitching motion. He has follow-up visits scheduled in three weeks and in six weeks and hopes to be cleared during the latter exam to resume throwing.
He currently is on blood-thinning medication.
The issue now should be fully behind him because of the repair, Gee said.
"I'm as healthy as any other 26-year-old should be -- an athlete," Gee said. "It was just a freak thing that happens with some pitchers."
To take Gee's rotation spot, the Mets will reassign 41-year-old reliever Miguel Batista from the bullpen.
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