PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Mets are hardly unique in employing four Tommy John patients in the past 20 months -- the latest becoming a reality on Sunday, when Josh Edgin announced he will undergo the procedure and miss the entire 2015 season. But it is still disconcerting for a team that has had to dip into its pitching depth earlier than expected.
Edgin, 28, learned earlier this week that he had a stretched ligament in his left elbow, resulting in a velocity drop. He briefly considered a course of rehab, but in the end chose surgery, calling it "the best decision for my future and my family."
"The Mets stood behind me 100 percent," Edgin said. "I'm disappointed, because we have a heck of a team. My mindset is to be ready to go on Opening Day in 2016."
"I'm not surprised that he opted to do it," manager Terry Collins said. "If you think about it, it's probably the right thing to do, rather than start out the year, try to pitch into May and then miss the rest of this year and all of next year. For him, it's the wisest decision. Certainly it's going to be tough for us, but we'll find somebody else to put in that spot."
A former 30th-round Draft pick, Edgin posted a 1.32 ERA in 47 appearances last season, holding left-handed hitters to a .217 on-base percentage. The Mets were confident enough in his performance that they did not sign any left-handed relievers to big league contracts this winter, instead selecting Sean Gilmartin in the Rule 5 Draft and bringing Scott Rice back on a Minor League deal.
Now, those two will compete with Dario Alvarez and Jack Leathersich for what general manager Sandy Alderson indicated will be one bullpen spot, earmarked for a left-hander already in camp. That's does not completely mesh with the views of Collins, who said he would be satisfied going into Opening Day with seven right-handed relievers if no lefty candidate emerges.
"We're not going to rely on any one guy or any two guys," Collins said. "We're just going to take the best guys we can find. You take guys who can get people out."
For now, the Mets are simply hoping that the rest of their pitchers in camp stay healthy. Starter Zack Wheeler is currently dealing with a bout of left elbow tendinitis, while reliever Vic Black is nursing a similar condition in his right shoulder.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.