The trio of injured Mets starters saw some progress yesterday towards making their returns. Josh Thole, recovering from a May 7th concussion, and Jason Bay, recovering from an April 24th fractured rib in his left side, were both cleared to fly down to New York’s spring training facility in Port St. Lucie to continue their rehab, inching closer to rejoining the team in the immediate future.
For Thole, he had to go through a running program to ramp up his cardio to first see if his increased blood pressure would cause any
headaches. According to manager Terry Collins, Thole hasn’t suffered any, so they are ready to move onto the next step with their starting catcher. Now that he hasn’t felt any affects from his concussion, Thole has been cleared to begin baseball activity, meaning that he could be back behind the plate for New York pretty soon.
Jason Bay continued to ramp up his hitting in Pittsburgh by participating in soft toss before the Mets opened their series against the Pirates. Now that he was deemed healthy enough to continue more significant baseball activity, Bay joined Thole on the plane ride down to Florida. The expectation is that Bay will take live batting practice tomorrow, citing that a return to the Mets will be possible by the end of this month.
These two injured players are going to see Ruben Tejada down at the spring training complex, as Tejada has been working out in Florida for about a week already, getting his strained quad ready to return to Major League action. The 22-year-old shortstop also increased his running program over the weekend, and is expected to begin a rehab assignment as early as tomorrow. If all goes well and Tejada doesn’t experience any setbacks, he should be returning to the Mets by the weekend.
It will be great to get these players back on the active roster for Terry Collins, with his lineup being at full strength again. Thole (.284/.356/.370) started off this season on fire; he has cooled off a little bit, but has reached base in all but three of his 26 games played this season. Tejada has been a worthy replacement after losing Jose Reyes to free agency over the winter, and there is a growing consensus that this team is playing more like a team without their former shortstop. Now that Andres Torres has gone into a big slump and is now hitting under .200 for the season, Tejada (.305/.362/.400) should take over lead off duties at the top of the lineup to take some pressure off Torres. At least, that’s what I’d like to see.
As for Bay (.240/.316/.460), his return doesn’t excite many fans, but I’m going to try to once again, give Bay the benefit of the doubt. If he can continue his performance from his last nine games played (.290 BA), and start hitting for extra bases (I’m just asking for doubles), he can provide some much needed balance to a left-hand dominated lineup. Again, I’m trying to look at the positives here.
Which return are you looking forward to the most: Thole, Bay, or Tejada?