Glavine: Doctors to test for possible blood clot

Updated: August 21, 2006, 3:14 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- Tom Glavine sounded worried and hopeful at the same time. Surrounded by media in a small room next to the New York Mets' clubhouse on Sunday, he said his pitching shoulder is being examined for a possible blood clot.

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Buster Olney
It goes without saying that any season-ending injury to Tom Glavine would be devastating to the Mets' hopes for advancing deep into the playoffs. On some days, Pedro Martinez may be the best pitcher that the Mets have, but over the course of this long season, Glavine has led the staff, setting the tone with his preparation and competitiveness and his effectiveness.

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Glavine felt coldness in his left ring finger after his start Wednesday in Philadelphia. Depending on tests in the next few days, the 40-year-old pitcher could return to the mound as soon as next weekend or require surgery.

He tried to be optimistic, and Mets officials expressed hope that he will return to the mound soon. Yet, they all said no one had a diagnosis yet.

"You get scared. You start wondering about the rest of your career, if there's going to be one," the two-time Cy Young Award winner said. "I had a wonderful career, and I've stayed healthy for the most part. I've envisioned my retirement, but I never envisioned it through an injury. So from that standpoint, it's uneasy.

"It's strange, too, because I sit here and I feel fine," he added. "Everything feels great. I don't have any pain anywhere or anything like that. It's just I have this something going on inside my shoulder that needs to be looked at."

"I had a wonderful career, and I've stayed healthy for the most part. I've envisioned my retirement, but I never envisioned it through an injury. So from that standpoint, it's uneasy."
Tom Glavine

The New York Times reported Sunday night that an ultrasound and a magnetic resonance imaging test Friday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan revealed a problem. Glavine is scheduled to have an angiogram on his left shoulder on Monday or Tuesday to see if there is blockage of an artery.

"There's something in my artery that concerns them, but to this point in time, we don't know exactly what it is," Glavine told the Times. "And we're not going to know until I get the angiogram done."

Glavine's injury was first reported by the New York Daily News on Sunday. He said the injury was not life-threatening.

The Daily News reported that doctors are unsure whether Glavine's problem is related to a blood clot or possibly a "knot" in an artery near his left shoulder. A clot could be addressed with medication while a knot may require an invasive procedure to correct.

Doctors apparently have ruled out an aneurysm, the newspaper reported. Last year, Mets reliever Felix Heredia experienced coldness and numbness in his pitching hand and ultimately was diagnosed with an aneurysm in the shoulder, which ended his Mets career.

"When you start hearing blood clots and aneurysms and stuff like that, you start thinking heart attacks or strokes and stuff. It's not the same thing," he said. "Believe me, I've asked that question to every doctor I've talked to."

New York already is without Pedro Martinez, on the 15-day disabled list after straining his right calf Monday. Despite a 14-game lead in the NL East and a league-best 75-48 record, the Mets would not appear to be a dominant team if they head into the playoffs without Glavine.

"The season wouldn't mean very much if something was to happen to him," closer Billy Wagner said. "We're concerned just on a friendship basis. We're not concerned about our season. We've got talent on this team."

Glavine's left middle finger and index finger were diagnosed in 1990 with Raynaud's, a condition caused by poor circulation that leads to numbness and coldness.

"We just thought it was an extension of that," he said, "and then when they got further into the tests, I guess they picked something up when they did the ultrasound."

This was the first time his ring finger was bothered, and it still felt cold Sunday. He consulted with teammate Roberto Hernandez, who had blood clots in his right forearm in 1991 and had a vein transplanted from a leg to the arm.

"I'm hoping for the best but certainly am prepared and understand what the worst is," Glavine said.

Mets general manager Omar Minaya and manager Willie Randolph were hopeful Glavine will miss only one or two turns in the rotation.

"Hopefully after he shows that he's going to be OK, he'll be able to come back and be able to help us as we move through September and hopefully beyond September," Minaya said before the Mets beat Colorado 2-0.

Glavine became a star while pitching for Atlanta from 1987-2002. His hair now starting to gray, he is 12-6 with a 3.92 ERA for the NL East-leading Mets, and his 287 victories rank third among active pitchers behind Roger Clemens (346) and Greg Maddux (329).

With Glavine and Martinez out, John Maine, Steve Trachsel and Dave Williams will start against St. Louis in a series beginning Tuesday. Orlando Hernandez also is in the rotation, Brian Bannister or Oliver Perez could be brought up from Triple-A Norfolk and Mike Pelfrey is recovering from a strained back muscle.

"You almost expect this kind of stuff. I've been through it many, many times, and you learn to react on the fly and keep your wits about you," Randolph said. "It's always a challenge in a lot of ways to get through these kind of things."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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