2006 NEWS

2006 News > 8/20/06


By Brian Hoch, MLB.com
Original Article HERE.

NEW YORK -- Mets left-hander Tom Glavine will miss at least his next start and possibly the remainder of the season, pending the result of tests on a blood clot in his pitching shoulder.

Glavine felt coldness in the ring finger of his left hand following his last start on Wednesday at Philadelphia, and reported the issue to team trainers.

He was sent for a battery of tests with physicians over the weekend, including an ultrasound and an MRI. Glavine is scheduled to undergo a CT scan and an angiogram this week to further determine his status.

"I'm hoping I'm back out there pitching this year as quickly as possible and hoping this is just an isolated incident," Glavine said. "I'm also preparing in the back of my mind that it could be something worse than that. We'll find out."

Glavine said that the group of doctors, which includes Mets medical director Dr. David Altcheck, is focused on an artery in the veteran's pitching shoulder.

Glavine said the best-case scenario would involve the doctors deciding that his sensation Wednesday was just an "isolated incident" and that the clot could clear on its own, which Glavine suggested could have him back on the mound by the weekend.

In the worst-case scenario, Glavine would undergo season-ending surgery to modify the artery, although he noted that such a situation is not considered life-threatening. He said each doctor has stressed to the 40-year-old that he will not suffer any long-term health effects.

"The doctors have been very up front about not trying to get my hopes up too high, but at the same time, make me understand what the range of possibilities are," Glavine said.

Clearly, losing Glavine -- who is 12-6 with a 3.92 ERA in 26 starts this season -- would represent a devastating blow to the Mets' postseason chances.

But the 287-game winner suggested that in the past few days, he has been forced to contemplate issues greater than whether or not he will pitch again this season.

"You get scared and start worrying about the rest of your career; if there's going to be one," Glavine said. "Obviously, I had a wonderful career and I stayed healthy for the most part. I envisioned my retirement, but I never envisioned it to an injury.

"From that standpoint, it's uneasy. It's strange, too, because I sit here and I feel great. I don't have any pain or anything like that. It's just that I have something going on inside my shoulder that needs to be looked at."

Glavine said he has had issues with coldness in his pitching hand since leaving a 1990 game at Los Angeles, after which he was diagnosed with a condition known as Raynaud's Phenomenon, which affects blood flow in extremities.

For the past 16 years, Glavine revealed he has dealt with coldness and numbness in the index and middle fingers of his pitching hand, although feeling the sensation in his ring finger Wednesday was a first.

"It's a strange feeling, it doesn't hurt," Glavine said. "The temperature's just a little different than my other fingers."

He reported that the fingers were feeling better Sunday morning, and went as far to suggest that he felt as though he could pitch that afternoon if necessary. Clearly, however, he also admitted that was not a realistic possibility.

"I'm hoping for the best, but certainly am prepared and understand what the worst is," Glavine said.

While undergoing tests this weekend, Glavine consulted with teammate Roberto Hernandez, who suffered a blood clot in his right forearm in 1991 as a Chicago White Sox Minor Leaguer. Hernandez had a vein transplanted from his leg to fix the problem, putting his playing career back on track.

Hernandez said he underwent three angiograms as part of the testing process, and informed Glavine about the experiences he will endure. Hernandez said the angiogram is "not a fun feeling," but noted that it is worth it to learn what exactly is the problem.

"For me, I was trying to figure out why the rest of my body was warm, even on a cold day," Hernandez said, "and why I had two fingers that were frozen. Not knowing what's going on, that drove me crazy."

In the short term, the Mets will fill in by setting their rotation for the upcoming series against the St. Louis Cardinals with John Maine, Steve Trachsel and Dave Williams, who made his debut with the team Saturday against the Colorado Rockies.

Mets manager Willie Randolph said the team would reserve making further plans until more was known about Glavine's situation.

"You're always a little concerned, but we're going to wait until all the tests come in and then go from there," Randolph said. "That's all you can do, really."

Mets general manager Omar Minaya said he was optimistic that Glavine would be able to rejoin the team this season, but also noted that stockpiling starting pitching had been a priority for the Mets since before Spring Training.

Minaya said the team expected to know more about Glavine's situation by the middle of the week.

"You think about the person first," Minaya said. "We hope everything is OK with Tommy. We'll make the adjustments. I'm pretty sure he's going to be able to come back and help us as we go to September, and hopefully beyond."