Just when you thought the New York Mets would be head into the regular season relatively healthy, the injury bug strikes hard.
Oh, Jason Vargas, how little we knew ye. It might a while before Jason Vargas makes his regular season return to the mound as a New York Met, a decade in waiting.
The Mets announced that Vargas will undergo surgery on his right hand according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.
Jason Vargas will undergo surgery Tuesday to repair the fractured bone in his right hand, the Mets announced. He'll resume throwing five days post-surgery. It is safe to assume, then, that he'll miss the start of the regular season — but not necessarily a big chunk of it.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) March 18, 2018
The southpaw sustained a non-displaced fracture of the hamate bone of his non-pitching hand, after being hit on the glove-hand by a line-drive comebacker in a minor league game on Saturday.
While the belief is that he’ll be able to resume throwing five days after his surgery, there is no sure timetable for his return to action.
Vargas, 35, went 18-11 with a 4.16 ERA and 1.33 WHIP for Kansas City last year, earning his first trip to the All-Star Game in the process. He was expected to provide stability to a staff that endured multiple injuries in 2017, after signing a two-year, $16 million deal with the Mets this offseason.
When the injury occurred, both manager Mickey Callaway and Vargas seemed unconcerned and intimated to Kirstie Ackert of the New York Daily News that he would indeed answer the bell on opening day but now he will miss more extensive time after surgery was recommended by team doctors.
With Vargas no longer an option to fill out the back-end of the rotation, Zack Wheeler could once again find himself starting for the Amazin’s. Former prospect Rafael Montero, while reportedly a trade candidate, could also be an option despite a brutal spring.
Vargas, who has also pitched for the Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels, and Miami Marlins over a 12-year career is entering his second stint as a Met. He pitched briefly for the Mets in 2007 but spent most of the year in the minors and struggled when called upon by the big club. He went 0-1 with a 12.19 ERA in two starts and was traded away the following year in a deal for J.J. Putz.