NEW YORK -- Mets closer Bobby Parnell was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a partially torn elbow ligament and will be sidelined until at least late May.
Parnell will be out much longer if it turns out he needs surgery. But first, he will try resting for two weeks before beginning a throwing program that could last up to a month, general manager Sandy Alderson said. If that doesn't heal Parnell's right elbow sufficiently, he likely would require surgery.
"It's conceivable, I guess, that we would cut that off earlier than four weeks if we thought he wasn't making progress," Alderson said. "There's always the risk that it will completely tear. But because of the location, the doctors were comfortable with the conservative approach."
The move was made retroactive to April 1. New York selected the contract of veteran right-hander Kyle Farnsworth from Triple-A Las Vegas and added him to a suspect bullpen that flopped on opening day.
Alderson said some of the club's starters at Las Vegas will pitch out of the bullpen over the next couple of months to get accustomed to that role. That probably will not include top prospect Noah Syndergaard.
"We have some great arms and at some point it will be important for us to see them," Alderson said.
In other moves, second baseman Daniel Murphy was placed on paternity leave and the Mets recalled infielder Wilmer Flores from Las Vegas. Flores started at second against Washington left-hander Gio Gonzalez.
Chris Young, who missed the opener with what was described as a minor right quadriceps strain, made his first start for the Mets but never came to bat. Young played the first inning in left field before he was lifted for Andrew Brown in the top of the second.
Three innings later, the Mets announced Young left the game with tightness in his right quad. Young joined the team as a free agent in the off-season, signing a $7.25 million, one-year contract.
Murphy is expected back in time for Thursday's matinee. He and his wife, Victoria, welcomed a baby boy named Noah on Monday.
To make room for Farnsworth on the 40-man roster, the Mets sent right-hander Ryan Reid outright to the minors.
Parnell threw 25 pitches in the season opener Monday against the Nationals and blew a save, giving up Denard Span's tying double in the ninth. New York lost 9-7 in 10 innings.
It was the right-hander's first save opportunity since a neck injury that eventually required surgery sidelined him for the final two months last season.
Parnell complained of tightness in his right elbow after the game. The Mets said he was examined Tuesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery, had an MRI and was diagnosed with a partial tear of the right medial collateral ligament. The team said he received a plasma injection.
The Mets already are without All-Star ace Matt Harvey, expected to miss the entire season following Tommy John surgery Oct. 22 for a partial tear of his right ulnar collateral ligament.
Jose Valverde, a three-time All-Star, takes over as the closer. The 36-year-old right-hander has 286 saves in an 11-year big league career with Arizona, Houston and Detroit.
"I feel bad for Bobby. What I want is for Bobby to be OK," Valverde said. "I want this guy to come back soon. I want him closing games for the Mets."