The Mets decided to pull former top pick Phil Humber from the Arizona Fall League this weekend because the right-hander is dealing with what he called "a little tendinitis" in his shoulder.
Humber had appeared in one game for the Mesa Solar Sox on Oct. 14, allowing a run in two innings, but hadn't pitched since. He was scheduled to pitch again on Friday but was pulled and sent home after an MRI also revealed a bruised humerus.
Humber, who made his Major League debut this season after undergoing "Tommy John" surgery in July 2005, is expected to be ready to pitch well before the beginning of Spring Training.
"Everything is cool," Humber told MiLB.com. "It's just a little tendinitis, a tired arm, so they decided to send me home. I don't think it's going to be a big deal. They're just making sure nothing bad happens out of season. I wanted to stay and compete, but it's best to be safe so I came home and now I'll get ready for spring."
Humber understands that the Mets are just protecting their investment.
"It's not anything serious, but they are being real cautious. I can't blame them, either, for wanting to shut me down with me coming off major surgery," he said. "It's something I didn't want to happen, but I'm glad it's not serious."
Mets team physician Dr. David Altchek learned of the bruise after studying the results of Humber's MRI. Humber said he doesn't recall getting hit or banging his arm or shoulder hard enough to get a bruise, but the test results were conclusive.
"I have no idea how I bruised it, but it takes a pretty good lick to bruise a bone," Humber said. "The doctor said sometimes it just happens. But it was good to hear that he wasn't concerned. He just wanted to make sure I wasn't throwing, and that I got the proper rest because sometimes with something like this you wind up compensating for it and hurting something else."
The good news is that the doctor's visit showed that the rest of his arm is in good shape.
"There's nothing wrong with the muscles, though, or my labrum or my rotator cuff. Everything came back good on the MRI," he said.
Humber made 14 Minor League starts this season upon his return from surgery, going a combined 5-3 with a 2.83 ERA over 76 1/3 innings in the Gulf Coast, Florida State and Eastern Leagues. He was promoted to the parent club in September and pitched a pair of scoreless innings.
The Rice product, who the Mets selected with the third overall pick in the 2004 draft, is expected to be among those considered for a spot in New York's rotation next spring along with fellow former No. 1 pick Mike Pelfrey, John Maine and Oliver Perez.
Kevin Czerwinski is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.