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Parnell expects to be ready by spring after surgery

NEW YORK -- After undergoing surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck, Mets closer Bobby Parnell is confident he'll be ready for the start of Spring Training.

"Chances are pretty good. I don't know the numbers or anything, but everyone has assured me that I will," Parnell said. "I feel very confident that everything's going to get back to normal."

Dr. Robert Watkins performed Parnell's surgery on Sept. 10 in California. Parnell was in the Mets' clubhouse following their 2-1 loss to the Giants on Thursday. He wore a neck brace and said the only discomfort he's experiencing now is soreness from the operation.

Watkins removed the disk from Parnell's neck and replaced it with a bone graft from his hip.

Parnell first experienced neck stiffness during New York's series in Miami in late July. He received anti-inflammatories and underwent an epidural procedure during the following week, but the stiffness remained. The Mets ended up placing him on the disabled list on Aug. 6

While surgery was always a possibility, Parnell said he initially wanted to avoid it. But after gathering more information and advice, he learned it was a common procedure with strong results. Further medical examinations also showed surgery was becoming more of a necessity.

"I had a follow-up MRI before I went to California, and the herniation hadn't shrunk and possibly had gotten bigger," Parnell said. "Just for me to be ready for Spring Training, I needed to do it."

Walking is about the extent of the physical activity he's allowed to do for the next four to six weeks, when Parnell then will see Watkins again for a follow-up examination.

Parnell emerged as a reliable closer for the Mets this season, with 22 saves in 26 chances. The 29-year-old was 5-5 with a 2.16 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 50 innings.

"It's never enough, but I feel confident with what I did," Parnell said. "I feel like it's a good stepping stone for the future. I learned a lot of things about myself and I'm going to continue to carry it on to the next year."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. Chris Iseman is an associate reporter for
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