ATL@NYM: Parnell notches his 20th save of the season

NEW YORK -- Much like Matt Harvey, who is currently deciding whether to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, Mets closer Bobby Parnell remains in medical limbo.

A follow-up examination on Parnell's neck Monday morning revealed continued improvement, though not enough for the closer to feel confident of avoiding surgery to repair herniated disc. Parnell will return to the doctor in two weeks, at which point he will make a final decision on surgery.

"I really don't know what to think," Parnell said. "Me personally, I feel like I can get better, and I feel like I'll be better by Spring Training. I just don't know whether or not it's going to recur again, and that's what I'm more worried about than anything."

If possible, Parnell said, he would like to avoid surgery.

"You want your body as it is," he said. "You don't want to start replacing stuff."

But the closer fears that while rest and rehab may be enough to prepare him for Opening Day, that plan could put him at significantly greater risk for a recurrence. Before suffering a herniated disc, Parnell's breakout season included 22 saves in 26 chances with a 2.16 ERA.

Much of Parnell's indecision regarding surgery, he said, revolves around the fact that his injury is so rare in pitching circles. With so few case studies on which to rely, Parnell cited Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning's successful return from a herniated disc as evidence that surgery could be most prudent.

"There are success stories," Parnell said. "It's common to do [the surgery]. But it's kind of a weird injury for pitchers."

Worth noting

• Jeremy Hefner will definitely undergo Tommy John surgery to repair a partially-torn MCL in his right elbow, the right-hander confirmed in a text message. Hefner said last week that he was committed to the procedure, but wanted to receive a second opinion before making his final decision.

• MLB announced Monday that Double-A Binghamton left-hander Daniel Huchingson has been suspended 50 games without pay for a second violation of using a drug of abuse. Huchingson, a reliever, posted a 1.61 ERA this season in 67 innings.