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Drew Smith Will Have Season-Ending Elbow Surgery

Mets reliever Drew Smith will undergo season-ending elbow surgery on Friday, he told Newsday’s Tim Healey. The righty still isn’t sure if he’ll need full Tommy John surgery or a less-important internal brace procedure. It is not uncommon for a surgeon to make that decision during surgery based on the severity of the muscle injury.

Smith went on the injured list with a sprained elbow a few weeks ago. He admitted in late June that initial tests determined that surgery was necessary. Smith has since sought a second opinion but apparently cannot avoid going under the knife. Even in the best case scenario where he “only” needs an internal brace procedure, he could miss almost a calendar year. A full UCL reconstruction could keep him out for the entire 2025 season.

Smith spent his entire major league career with the Mets. First drafted by the Rays in 2015, he was dealt to New York as a first baseman prospect. Lucas Duda. Smith made his MLB debut the following year. He played in 27 games as a rookie before Tommy John surgery ended his 2019 campaign and limited him to a shortened year.

Over the past three and a half seasons, Smith has been a solid contributor in the middle and late innings. He posted a 2.40 ERA through 41 1/3 innings in 2021. His ERA got stronger over the next few seasons, but he missed more at-bats and pitched a few more innings along the way. The 30-year-old righty has had a strong start to the season, posting a 3.06 ERA with a 29.1% strikeout rate (a career high) in 17 2/3 frames.

Smith is an upcoming free agent, so this could represent a tough end to his stay in Queens. The timing is so bad that it will be the second major elbow procedure of his career. Smith’s early season performance looked like it would land him on a solid two-year deal. The surgery could limit him to a slightly back-loaded two years at a very low salary, especially if he needs to miss all of next season.

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