New York Mets right-hander Dillon Gee will undergo potentially season-ending surgery Friday in St. Louis to fix artery damage in his pitching shoulder, which should prevent a recurrence of clotting, the team confirmed Thursday.
After doctors dissolved a clot but determined Gee's artery was damaged, he was presented with the option of using blood thinners for the near future, but that was riskier. So Gee has opted to have a procedure performed by leading specialist Dr. Robert Thompson at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.
The Mets said Thompson will replace a portion of the damaged artery.
Gee is expected to be able to resume throwing in six to eight weeks. But under the best-case scenario, he only would return in late September, or in October if the Mets reach the playoffs. That is secondary to getting Gee ready for the 2013 season.
No longer-lasting ramifications for Gee in terms of his health or his career after the procedure is performed are expected, since it should fix the issue and prevent future clotting in the shoulder. So Gee should be good to pitch from the outset next season regardless whether he returns this year.
Gee was discharged from Manhattan's New York-Presbyterian Hospital earlier Wednesday after doctors successfully broke up a blood clot in his pitching shoulder.
Dr. Sharif Ellozy, a vascular expert who did not treat Gee, had speculated to ESPNNewYork.com on Tuesday that doctors might need to perform an additional surgical procedure on Gee if it was determined the artery in his shoulder had been damaged and could be the cause of the clotting.
"As far as him going back to pitching, it depends on what the artery looks like -- if the artery looks normal or if they think there's some abnormality in the artery that caused it," said Ellozy, an associate professor of surgery at The Mount Sinai Hospital. "The fact that he's a pitcher and that it was in the arm that he was pitching from, you suspect there may be some injury where [the artery] goes between the clavicle and the first rib in that arm. How soon he'll be able to return depends on what they find."
Gee, who had the shoulder clot broken up with a surgical procedure involving a catheter, has been placed on the disabled list by the Mets.
The Mets plan to call up left-handed reliever Josh Edgin to take Gee's roster spot. Right-hander Miguel Batista will step into the rotation when the need for a fifth starter arises.