By MIKE FITZPATRICK AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Matt Harvey’s season is over and he’s “relieved” to have a reason for why it was so horrible.
The former ace will have surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, sidelining the New York Mets pitcher until next year. The team said Friday the operation will be performed in St. Louis by Dr. Robert Thompson, but didn’t announce a date.
“I’m extremely disappointed to learn that I’ll be out for the season, but I’m relieved to have answers and get back to doing what I love,” Harvey posted on Twitter. “I hope you’ll understand if I stay out of touch & stick to the business of getting healthy.”
Thoracic outlet syndrome is caused by the compression of nerves, blood vessels or both in the area between the neck and armpit. It’s a serious condition that has interrupted and even jeopardized the careers of other major league pitchers.
The surgery, which involves the removal of a rib, is designed to alleviate pressure on the affected nerves or blood vessels. Thompson, a TOS specialist, has performed similar operations on pitchers such as Jaime Garcia and Chris Young that helped them make successful returns to the mound.
Harvey went 4-10 with a 4.86 ERA in 17 starts this season, and his final win came on May 30. He permitted 111 hits in 92 2/3 innings, with 76 strikeouts and 24 walks.
It was a stunning flop for a pitcher who began the year 25-18 with a 2.53 ERA and 449 strikeouts in 427 major league innings. But despite his struggles, Harvey and the Mets had insisted all season that he was healthy.
Until this week.
The right-hander, who made a successful return from Tommy John surgery on his elbow last year, was knocked around Monday by Miami for six runs _ five earned _ and 11 hits over 3 2/3 innings.
After the game, the 27-year-old Harvey complained of symptoms common to thoracic outlet syndrome, which include numbness and tingling in the fingers, and shoulder discomfort.
Harvey’s agent, Scott Boras, told several media outlets Friday that Harvey hadn’t felt right since spring training but wanted to pitch through the problem until it became a little more pronounced recently. Harvey finally acknowledged the ball didn’t feel the same as usual in his hand, Boras said.
“Certainly we knew that he was struggling with release points and things which, again, I think if you probably could have reached down and do some severe analysis of different things, that might have been certainly one of the causes, that he just couldn’t get himself in the slot that was most comfortable,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “But no, I didn’t have any indication that he had those kind of issues.”
Collins and general manager Sandy Alderson met Friday with Harvey, but a club spokesman said the pitcher would not be available to reporters.
“He’s optimistic. He’s disappointed. He didn’t make any excuses,” Collins said. “He just said, you know, `I’m disappointed the way I pitched and I hope this cures me and we get back on track.”’
“We certainly support him,” the manager added. “We’re disappointed that that’s what happened, but you’ve got to look down the road, look at the big picture and now just say, 2017, hopefully he’ll be ready to go.”
In a statement, Alderson said the Mets “all feel badly” for Harvey but know “he will work as hard as possible to get back on the field for the 2017 season.”
Logan Verrett is scheduled to start in Harvey’s place Saturday night at Citi Field against Max Scherzer and the NL East-leading Washington Nationals.
Collins has said Verrett likely will get a chance to hold down that spot in the rotation. The right-hander is 3-5 with a 4.01 ERA in 23 appearances this season, including five starts.
“Bummed out that Harvey’s going to have to go through this season-ending surgery. We feel for him. He’s a big part of our team and the morale around here and everything,” Verrett said. “But I’m excited about the opportunity. I know I’m not Matt Harvey, I’m Logan Verrett. My job is to pitch and however I can get in there and help the team is exactly what I’m going to do.”
(© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)