- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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NEW YORK -- New York Mets starter Jeremy Hefner will undergo Tommy John surgery after a second opinion on his partially torn MCL in his pitching arm confirmed surgery was needed, a source told ESPNNewYork.com.
Hefner visited Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla., for the second opinion on Monday, according to the source. Hefner previously had Tommy John surgery recommended to him by team doctors. He also has bone spurs in the elbow.
Hefner said on Aug. 21 he expected to have the surgery. He said then the alternative process was rest and rehab, but he realized that left him open to a potential full tear of the MCL.
"I kind of knew it was coming, and I had some time to process it, too, before they told me," Hefner said that day. "I'll see what the second doctor says and go from there."
Hefner admitted he hadn't been as honest with the Mets about the pain in his elbow because he wanted to stay in the rotation, but once he started struggling he alerted them to the problem. He previously said that he believes pitching through the pain probably worsened his injury.
The 27-year-old entered the All-Star break with MLB's best ERA dating back to June 4, but he went 0-2 with a 9.13 ERA in his five starts after the break. That led to a demotion to Triple-A Las Vegas, but the examination revealed the partial tear.
Hefner is 4-8 with a 4.34 ERA this year.
"I'm disappointed. But I did have a good year, except for the last few starts," Hefner said previously. "I'll always look back to that, especially when I'm going through my rehab and stuff. I'll revert back to those times, the good times in June and stuff, and look forward to next year and hopefully come back stronger."
The surgery could sideline Hefner through the 2014 season, as the rehab process can take more than a year, but he hopes to return next season.
Hefner, a fifth-round pick of the San Diego Padres in the 2007 draft, is 8-15 with a 4.65 ERA in his career, exclusively with the Mets.
"Hopefully [in] 10, 11 months I can come back," Hefner said. "It's all about how your arm rebounds. I look at it as another challenge in my career and hopefully I can come back stronger from it."