L to R: Bartolo Colon, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler in 2015. Photo: Marc Serota/Getty Images

Mets flamethrower Noah Syndergaard (aka "Thor") has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow and will undergo Tommy John surgery tomorrow, effectively shelving him for the next 12–15 months.

Why it matters: Tommy John surgery is hardly a death sentence, but it's no walk in the park, either. Recovery generally lasts more than a year, and the first season back typically comes with pitch- and innings-limits.

  • While it's never good to have one of your best players out of commission for over a year, the Mets lucked out with the timing of this surgery, seeing as how the 2020 season is up in the air.
  • As for Syndergaard, the timing is brutal. While fellow Tommy John victim Chris Sale recently signed a five-year, $145 million extension, Thor will hit free agency for the first time in his career after the 2021 season, likely just a few months after returning to the mound.

How it works: Tommy John was developed by Dr. Frank Jobe in 1974 as a way to reconstruct the UCL by grafting a tendon from elsewhere in the body into the elbow.

  • The doctor makes a 3- to 4-inch incision along the outer elbow and drills holes in the humerus and the ulna so they can thread the tendon into place. Then they secure the graft with sutures or screws before closing up.
  • The whole procedure takes just 60–90 minutes, and chances of a full recovery sit around 90%.
  • Why "Tommy John"? The surgery was first performed on a Dodgers pitcher named Tommy John in September 1974. Most experts believed a comeback would be miraculous, but John returned in 1976 to pitch an unbelievable 14 more seasons, from age 33 to 46, going 164-125 with a 3.66 ERA.

The backdrop: During spring training in 2015, Marc Serota snapped the above photo of the Mets' five young aces: Matt Harvey, Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler (plus Bartolo Colon).

  • Four years later, it's official: All five pitchers from that photo have either undergone elbow reconstruction or, in Thor's case, are scheduled to do so soon.

Go deeper: Baseball's uncertain future

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Technology

Why Puerto Rico is still struggling to get online

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Internet connectivity remains a weak link for the disaster-wracked U.S. territory Puerto Rico, and some experts fear a new tranche of Federal Communications Commission subsidies set aside just for the island might not help the people most in need of a broadband connection.

Why it matters: Puerto Rico is locked out of most federal funding available to U.S. states to help expand internet service. The island risks being left behind as carriers expand and upgrade high-speed internet networks elsewhere, even as infrastructure-damaging tropical storms come faster and harder and the pandemic makes broadband even more of a must-have.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6 a.m. ET: 31,343,430 — Total deaths: 965,250— Total recoveries: 21,516,481Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 6,858,010 — Total deaths: 199,886 — Total recoveries: 2,615,949 — Total tests: 95,841,281Map.
  3. Health: CDC says it mistakenly published guidance about COVID-19 spreading through air.
  4. Media: Conservative blogger who spread COVID-19 misinformation worked for Fauci's agency.
  5. Politics: House Democrats file legislation to fund government through Dec. 11.
  6. World: U.K. upgrades COVID alert level as Europe sees worrying rise in infections — "The Wake-Up Call" warns the West about the consequences of mishandling a pandemic.

The price of Washington's stimulus failure

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

America's elected representatives have failed America.

Why it matters: The bipartisan inability to deliver economic stimulus could impede economic growth for months to come. It will create widespread damage across America — from small businesses to large industries to schools and day cares — and leave many Americans without jobs or homes.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!