The Mets have once again been hit by the injury bug…as if they hadn’t gotten bit by it enough this year. The one difference between the injuries this year and previous years is that New York has been able to continue winning and stay above .500. Mike Pelfrey is gone for the year after Tommy John surgery, Ruben Tejada is currently on the disabled list with a strained quad, Josh Thole is keeping him company with a concussion, and Jason Bay fractured his rib. Now, Pelfrey’s replacement, Miguel Batista, strained his lower back in the second inning of his start against the Toronto Blue Jays. Here we go again.
Batista was encouraged that the groin injury that bothered him throughout his seven inning shutout performance didn’t bother him between his starts. However, it was a muscle in his back that derailed his chances of going deep in the game against Brandon Morrowyesterday afternoon. This is not what Terry Collins and Mets management wanted; their 41-year-old pitcher has done his best to erase his poor start to 2012. In his four starts and nine relief appearances this season, Batista is 1-1 with a 3.95 ERA. After meeting with a Blue Jays doctor, he was prescribed with anti-inflammatory medication, and New York is unsure as to whether the right-hander will be
healthy enough for his next start.
Thankfully for the Amazins, most of the currently injured Mets starters are on their way back to joining the lineup, occupied by the hottest hitter in the Major Leagues, David Wright. Tejada is scheduled to come off the DL Tuesday in Pittsburgh against the Pirates, Thole has experienced some headache-free days, which bodes well for him nearing a return. Jason Bay was cleared by a team doctor this past week to start participating in baseball activities, beginning his comeback.
As for Batista, it depends on how he feels today, but if he misses a single start, Collins has already announced that Jeremy Hefner will take his spot, as he should. Hefner threw five innings in relief of the injured Batista yesterday, only giving up two runs and not walking anyone in his second Major League appearance. If Batista’s injury is serious enough for him to hit the disabled list, the Mets have re-called Chris Schwinden from Triple-A Buffalo to join the team in Toronto as a part of the taxi cab squad. What I didn’t agree with was the demotion of Jordany Valdespin in order to bring up Hefner and solidify the Mets bullpen. Until Tejada comes back, Valdespin could be valuable to Collins off the bench.
Over the last few years, to say that there has been a black cloud over the Mets is the understatement of the century. Out of all the frustrating things that have gone on in this organization, it is the amount of serious injuries to key players that takes the cake. Teams deal with serious injuries on a yearly basis, but it seems as if the majority of these injuries have happened to players donning the orange and blue. The 2012 Mets are different from recent teams because they have been able to withstand the significant number of injuries that have been suffered so far this year, and even though I feel they can continue to play well without being full strength, there’s no telling how much longer they can stay afloat.
We’re already seeing them struggle over this past week, first against the Brewers, then against the Reds, and now most recently, in Toronto against the Blue Jays. This next stretch of games that has already started (20 games in 20 days) will help us see whether this year’s Mets can legitimately be contenders, or if they have been overachieving for the first two months of the season. Let’s hope that the currently injured Mets return to the field soon, Batista’s injury isn’t as serious as Collins is anticipating, and no one else gets seriously hurt so we can see just how good these guys really are!