It seems like yesterday we were touting Jeremy Hefner’s lofty statistics in the six weeks leading up to the All-Star break as among the best of any pitcher in baseball. Now, not only is he out of the Mets rotation, he is off the active roster.
Hefner was officially sent to Las Vegas before Sunday’s game in order to activate Jonathon Niese. However, Hefner’s aching right elbow is scheduled to be examined on Monday, and if he is deemed to be injured, his demotion will be transferred to a disabled list trip.
Jeremy Hefner has been a flop since the All-Star break, going 0-2 with a 9.13 ERA in five starts. In his eight starts before the break, Hefner went 3-1 with an ERA of under 2.00.
According to ESPNNewYork.com, Hefner thinks he first hurt his elbow when he was hit by a batted ball all the way back in spring training. He says it has gotten progressively worse as the season has worn on. He thinks it is just bone chips; nothing serious.
Perhaps more troubling is that Hefner admits he is losing stamina as he goes deeper into games.
“It’s been fairly manageable the whole year, but it started to creep up with a little more intensity of late. I think it’s endurance more than anything.
“Going back to the (July 29) Miami game and then the Royals and then the other day against the Diamondbacks, the first three or four innings were usually pretty good. And then it went sour very quickly after that. So I think that’s when I felt it the most. Once I get to that 70 to 80-pitch range, I’m completely out of gas and don’t feel like I’m as strong as I was.
“There’s a little bit of pain, soreness, inflammation — however you want to call it.”
If or when Hefner comes back, he will not be part of the regular rotation. Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins have correctly abandoned plans for a six-man rotation. Instead, another pitcher will make some spot starts in order to preserve the innings of Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler and get them closer to the end of the season. Perhaps Jeremy Hefner will be that spot starter, perhaps not.