Pelfrey said that he has experienced no pain since suffering the injury, and he said he was told that the alternative to surgery would yield only a 10-20 percent chance of recovery. Pelfrey will still consult renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews but seems at peace with his decision.
"There was an 80 percent chance I was still going to have surgery," he said of waiting to rest and rehab his elbow. "I thought it was the best case for me to just go ahead and do it. I'm supposed to go down and visit Andrews personally. We'll go from there, but I think surgery is about 99 percent."
Pelfrey, who won 15 games in 2010, said he characterized his symptoms as tightness as opposed to pain, and he also said that he was determined to pitch through what he believed was tendinitis. Pelfrey underwent an MRI that instead diagnosed a serious elbow injury.
"It's only been three days, and I have no idea what to do with myself," said Pelfrey. "I'm sure everybody's tired of me bugging them, because I've been all over the last few days. I've never been hurt in my life, and for me it was weird. I went for a precautionary MRI so he could tell me I have tendinitis, and they ended up saying I have a tear. It's tough, but I wish these guys the best."
Manager Terry Collins said that the prognosis for Pelfrey's recovery without surgery was "not very good," and he said that the right-hander could've hurt himself even more if he continued to pitch. That message was conveyed to Pelfrey, who then realized that surgery was his only option.
"The thing that kind of backed me off," he said of his injury, "is that it was brought up to me that I could pitch and me knowing that it's there, I could alter my mechanics and end up hurting my shoulder. My shoulder feels great, and I think [hurting my shoulder is] the last thing that I want. They read off all these statistics about 94 percent that you can fix the elbow, but when you get to the shoulder, it's kind of a gray area."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.