MILWAUKEE — Jeurys Familia, who had been diagnosed with an arterial blood clot, underwent surgery Friday and is expected to miss “several months,” according to GM Sandy Alderson.
The Mets closer had the procedure done by Dr. Robert Thompson in St. Louis; a blood clot was found in his right armit area.
Alderson added that the righthander, who was officially placed on the disabled list Friday afternoon, could be back this season or not. The team will look internally for bullpen help before looking outside the organization, he said.
The Mets made the roster move to make room for Lucas Duda, who came off the DL. The first baseman had been out since April 20 with a hyperextended left elbow.
Thompson, an expert in circulation issues including Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, diagnosed and performed surgery on Matt Harvey last summer. He also performed the 2012 surgery on then-Mets pitcher Dillon Gee, who was also diagnosed with a blood clot in his shoulder. Gee also missed the rest of the season.
That answers some questions about Familia, who has struggled to get started this season.
After serving a 15-game suspension under the MLB domestic violence policy, Familia has been inconsistent and had to be pulled from the ninth inning twice.
He suffered his first blown save Wednesday, pulled from the Mets’ 6-5 loss to the Giants after allowing four runs, three earned, on two hits and two walks.
After, Familia said his command was off, but his arm felt fine.
“I feel great,” Familia said. “My arm feels great. I just didn’t have it today.”
But the Mets had privately worried about Familia, who just wasn’t getting as many hitters to swing and miss at his sinker this season. A scout who watched him this season said there was reason for concern.
The Mets’ main concern in the past with Familia has been overuse. Last season he saved a club record 51 games and made 78 appearances. Over the last two years, Familia has pitched 155.2 innings.
Despite that concern and knowing he was likely to serve some kind of suspension after a Oct. 31 domestic violence incident that led to his arrest even with the subsequent dismissal of the charges, the Mets chose not to add to their bullpen. They re-signed Jerry Blevins and Fernando Salas, but did not bring in any other veteran arms.
So that subject of overuse has hung over the Mets bullpen early this season and was broached Wednesday as well. Familia had appeared in a 6-1 win on Tuesday night and then came in Wednesday. Collins said that was not the issue, citing that Familia has been successful on back-to-back-to-back days in the past.
Familia pitched on three consecutive days on six occasions in 2016, only blowing saves in two of those games. He did it four times after taking over the closer role in 2015 and recorded a save in each of those games — except for a suspended game.
After serving a 15-game suspension under the MLB’s joint domestic violence policy this season, Familia’s workload is well behind where it was last season. He had 11 saves in 16 appearances by May 9, 2016. He has three in 11 this season.
Closers like David Robertson (who is believed to have the Mets on his no-trade clause), Kelvin Herrera and Alex Colome are reportedly available, but with plenty of teams (like the Nationals) needing solid veteran closers and the market set high last winter by Aroldis Chapman and Mark Melancon, those arms will be costly.