NEW YORK — The Mets’ starting rotation suffered another significant blow on Monday, when an MRI revealed that Joey Lucchesi has a significant UCL tear in his left elbow, a source told MLB.com. Tommy John surgery is a realistic option for Lucchesi, who will receive a second opinion before making that decision.
The news comes as Lucchesi was in the midst of his best stretch of the season, posting a 1.19 ERA over his last five starts. Following his last outing, in which he delivered 5 1/3 shutout innings on Friday, Lucchesi complained of left elbow soreness. The Mets subsequently placed him on the injured list and scheduled him for an MRI. Only Monday did team officials learn of the torn ligament.
Overall, Lucchesi was 1-4 with a 4.46 ERA in his first season with the Mets, who acquired him from the Padres in a three-team deal last winter.
If Lucchesi does opt for Tommy John surgery, he will miss the rest of this season and most or all of next season, as well. The operation typically requires a rehab period of 12-18 months.
Even with a healthy Lucchesi, the Mets were already considering upgrading their rotation before the July 30 Trade Deadline, considering they have also played this entire season without Noah Syndergaard (recovery from Tommy John surgery) and Carlos Carrasco (torn right hamstring). With those two and Jordan Yamamoto (right shoulder soreness) all sidelined, dealing for another starter now appears to be a near-certainty. Top starters available could include Kyle Gibson of the Rangers, Jon Gray and Germán Márquez of the Rockies and Luis Castillo of the Reds.
In the short term, the Mets, who are in the midst of three doubleheaders in seven days, do not boast many experienced in-house options. Veteran Jerad Eickhoff made his season debut in Game 2 of Monday’s doubleheader against the Braves, while two other starters — Nick Tropeano and No. 10 prospect Thomas Szapucki — are on the organization’s 40-man roster.