When the pitcher on the TV began to speak, the visiting clubhouse at Citi Field became quieter. Although the pitcher was wearing a different uniform than them, nearly every Phillies player was completely bummed out to hear that Mets All-Star pitcher Matt Harvey had a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow.
"It sucks for the game," Michael Young said.
Harvey is likely headed for Tommy John surgery in the near future, although the Mets plan to wait 2-3 weeks to reexamine his arm once swelling subsides.
Just six weeks earlier, Harvey took the mound at his home ballpark to start the All-Star game for the National League team. He hasn't slowed down since and is on a very short list of candidates competing for the NL Cy Young Award (Clayton Kershaw is a heavy favorite, but Harvey would finish in the top 3 if the season ended today).
The 24-year-old Harvey ranks second in NL in ERA (2.27) and WHIP (0.93) and first in strikeouts (191). Harvey went 3-0 with a 0.45 ERA (one earned run in 20 innings) in three starts against the Phillies this season.
The 36-year-old Young said Harvey is "right up there" with the best pitchers he's faced in his 14-year career.
"I’ve faced some very good right-handed pitchers in my career," Young said. "(Roy) Halladay, Pedro (Martinez), (Roger) Clemens, Felix (Hernandez), (Justin) Verlander. They’re all up there and he’s in the conversation. It’s tough. To be honest with you, as a hitter you look forward to the day you’re facing those guys, that’s what the big leagues is all about. You want to face the great ones. It’s supposed to be a challenge, that’s what you want. That’s what playing at this level is all about."
The Mets won't have Harvey back on the mound in 2013 and may not see him in a major league game again until 2015. Although not playing against Harvey next year would obviously benefit the Phillies, no pro athlete wants to see another unable to perform due to injury.
"The year he's had and the stuff he has, it's a shame," manager Ryne Sandberg said. "It's too bad. He's a bright star. One of the best we've seen this year, stuff-wise. You hate to see that."
"Hopefully he gets better, gets completely healthy as soon as possible and gets back on the mound," Young said. "He’s great for the game."