NEW YORK - A ballpark that has been brought to life every fifth day was silenced as players arrived to work yesterday afternoon.
As the Phillies dressed for batting practice, New York Mets All-Star righthander Matt Harvey was down the hall in a news conference room talking about an injury that would end his brilliant 2013 season and very likely take away his 2014, too.
Harvey has a partial tear of ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. Although Harvey plays for a division rival, Phillies coaches and players watched the Mets pitcher on TV screens in the visiting clubhouse and were disappointed with the news.
"It sucks for the game," Michael Young said.
Harvey could very well be headed for Tommy John surgery in the near future, although the Mets plan to wait 2-to-3 weeks to re-examine his arm once swelling subsides.
Just 6 weeks earlier, Harvey, 24, took the mound at his home ballpark to start the All-Star game for the National League team. He hasn't slowed down since and is on a very short list of candidates competing for the NL Cy Young Award.
Young, 36, said Harvey is "right up there" with the best pitchers he has faced in his 14-year career.
"I've faced some very good righthanded pitchers in my career," Young said. "[Roy] Halladay, Pedro [Martinez], [Roger] Clemens, Felix [Hernandez], [Justin] Verlander. They're all up there and he's in the conversation.
"It's tough. To be honest with you, as a hitter you look forward to the day you're facing those guys, that's what the big leagues is all about. You want to face the great ones. It's supposed to be a challenge, that's what you want. That's what playing at this level is all about . . . I know a few guys on the Mets pretty well and they just rave about his makeup. Obviously he's a very talented guy, but they rave about the way he goes about it. That's what you want to see from young players."
The Mets won't have Harvey back on the mound in 2013 and may not see him in a major league game again until 2015. Although not playing against Harvey next year would obviously benefit the Phillies, no pro athlete wants to see another unable to perform due to injury.
"The year he's had and the stuff he has, it's a shame," manager Ryne Sandberg said. "It's too bad. He's a bright star. One of the best we've seen this year, stuff-wise. You hate to see that."
"Hopefully he gets better, gets completely healthy as soon as possible and gets back on the mound," Young said. "He's great for the game."
Two days after going 0-for-7 with four strikeouts, and picking up the loss on the mound, too, outfielder Casper Wells was placed on the 15-day disabled list with vision complications.
Wells had LASIK surgery in November but has struggled with his vision ever since, with his eyes drying up when he blinks. Wells tried both contacts and goggles, but finally told Sandberg on Sunday that he was having problems.
"It finally got to the point where he didn't feel right about it," Sandberg said. "He mentioned production and betterment of the team and himself to see if he can get that fixed."
Wells is 1-for-23 with eight strikeouts since joining the Phillies earlier this month. He's hitting .128 with 31 strikeouts in 101 plate appearances on the season - the lowest batting average in the majors among players with at least 100 plate appearances.
"You don't know if he was struggling or not seeing the ball well, but obviously he was having those issues, so that could be part of it," general manager Ruben Amaro said. "It's obviously an important part of your game."
Wells will be examined at the Wills Eye Institute on Wednesday.
The Phillies called up utility player Pete Orr from Triple A Lehigh Valley to take Wells' place. Ryan Howard was transferred to the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man roster for Orr.
Roy Halladay set a major league record on Sunday, one that he'll get a chance to rewrite on Friday at Wrigley Field.
When Halladay struck out against Arizona's Patrick Corbin in the fourth inning of Sunday's game at Citizens Bank Park, he moved past Sandy Koufax for having the most at-bats in a season in which each at-bat ends in a strikeout. Halladay is 0-for-13 with 13 strikeouts.
Koufax went 0-for-12 with 12 strikeouts in 1955.
A known workaholic, Halladay would obviously like to end his strikeout run when he gets in the batter's box Friday, his next start.
"He shared that in spring training - he wanted to work at it," Sandberg said. "If he can perfect the sacrifice bunt, that's huge. Sometimes he has troubles with that, too. That's the first step."
Even if he manages to make an out that's not a strikeout, Halladay can still join another group of select company.