The New York Mets' season of high expectations took another serious hit Thursday when All-Star closer Jeurys Familia was diagnosed with a blood clot in his pitching shoulder that might require surgery.
The arterial clot will be examined Friday in St. Louis by Dr. Robert Thompson, who treated starter Matt Harvey last year for thoracic outlet syndrome, the Mets said in a statement.
New York entered the year with hopes of returning to the World Series behind their dominant starting staff and a lineup led by slugger Yoenis Cespedes. But the Cuban outfielder tops a crowded disabled list that includes pitchers Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Seth Lugo; first baseman Lucas Duda; catcher Travis d'Arnaud; and captain David Wright.
Familia's surprise diagnosis came on an off day before New York opens a series in Milwaukee. General manager Sandy Alderson is expected to provide more details on the 27-year-old right-hander before Friday's game. Treatment could include blood thinners and surgery.
In 2012, Mets pitcher Dillon Gee had surgery to remove a blood clot from his arm and missed the rest of the season.
The Mets so far are making news more for injuries and off-field follies than success between the lines.
Harvey will make his first start Friday since being suspended three games by the team for failing to show at the ballpark for Saturday's game.
Syndergaard, also an All-Star last year, skipped a start with biceps and shoulder discomfort, but refused to have an MRI. In his next start, he tore a lat muscle that landed him on the 60-day DL.
And last weekend, the team was embarrassed when it posted on Instagram a photo of T.J. Rivera wearing the star-of-the-game crown in the clubhouse, which included a clearly visible sex toy in the locker of backup catcher Kevin Plawecki.
The Mets dropped to 16-17 after Familia allowed four runs in the ninth inning of a loss to San Francisco on Wednesday, his third straight day on the mound. Manager Terry Collins said Familia's problem was command, not too much work.
Familia has made just 11 appearances this year after serving a 15-game suspension to start the season for violating Major League Baseball's domestic violence policy. He was 3 for 3 in save opportunities before Wednesday.
He became the closer in 2015 and had a major league-leading 51 saves last year. He has made 241 appearances since the start of the 2014 season.
Addison Reed converted all four save opportunities filling in for Familia, but taking Reed out of his setup role taxes an already thin bullpen.