Bobby Parnell's elbow injury makes Jose Valverde a closer again

Tuesday April 1st, 2014

Bobby Parnell's season is in jeopardy due to a partially torn MCL in his elbow. (Seth Wenig/AP)Bobby Parnell's season is in jeopardy due to a partially torn ligament in his elbow. (Seth Wenig/AP)

Mets closer Bobby Parnell blew his first save opportunity this season on Monday, and it may be a while before he gets another. Complaining of tightness in his pitching elbow, Parnell, who had exhibited decreased velocity all spring, was given an MRI that found a partially torn medial collateral ligament in the joint. Parnell was given a platelet-rich plasma injection and will be placed on the disabled list, where he'll rest for two weeks before the team determines whether or not he will require surgery. If he does, he could lose the majority of the season.

Parnell's injury will make veteran Jose Valverde the Mets' closer, at least for the time being. The 36-year-old Valverde accumulated 277 saves for the Diamondbacks, Astros, and Tigers from 2003 to 2012, but suffered a rapid fall from grace in late 2012, just a year after converting all 52 of his save opportunities for the Tigers in the regular and postseasons. Valverde converted 35 of 40 saves for Detroit in 2012, but lost his job after giving up seven runs over two consecutive appearances that postseason, making just one more appearance for the Tigers after Game 1 of the American League Championship Series despite Detroit playing seven more games that October.

A free agent that winter, Valverde went unsigned until the Tigers, their plans to install rookie Bruce Rondon in the role having failed, signed him to a minor league deal in early April. Valverde reclaimed his title as Tigers closer in late April of that year and converted his first three save chances, but then blew three of his next nine, was outrighted off the roster after an ugly outing against the Orioles in mid-June, released in early August, and remained unsigned for the remainder of the season. This winter, the Mets took a flier on Valverde on a minor league deal and broke camp with him as their primary set-up man, a role he filled ably on Monday by retiring all four batters he faced, striking out three. Now he's their closer.

Vic Black Marlon Byrd Jeff Walters Kyle Farnsworth who is being called up for Wednesday's game Kevin Gregg
SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.