Anthony DiComo of MLB.com was able to shed some light on how the rehab process is going for three of New York’s injured starters: Josh Thole, Jason Bay, and Ruben Tejada. While all three players made forward progress in their rehabilitation, we shouldn’t be expecting any of these players back in the lineup for the Mets until at least next week.
Josh Thole continues to shake off the effects of the concussion he suffered back on May 7th, and has begun swinging a bat and getting himself accustomed to being back in the batter’s box; however, Thole has yet to get behind the plate in a game. There is an extended spring game going on in Port St. Lucie today and the organization is hoping he will get his first taste of catching since his injury today. If he feels no ill effects, Thole will be one step closer to returning to the Mets lineup. As Matt Kaufman said yesterday, his return can’t come soon enough.
Mike Nickeas and Rob Johnson have been doing what they can to fill in for Thole (.284/.356/.370), but his presence is missed most at the bottom of the order. Nickeas has received most of the playing time since he went on the DL, but he just hasn’t been able to
produce (.160/.263/.200), and even though Johnson has been surprising us at times with his offense, his career norms don’t bode well for him. What the Mets need is Thole’s ability to get on base, something that neither Nickeas or Johnson have been able to do consistently. So, I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say: Josh, hurry up!
Jason Bay continues his road back from a fractured rib in his left side that he suffered on April 24th. He’s one step closer towards creating a hot debate for which roster move should be made upon his return; he took live batting practice yesterday in Port St. Lucie. As he keeps progressing in his rehab, Bay is expected to make an appearance in a minor league game next week as a designated hitter. He looks to be the farthest away from returning of the trio currently rehabbing, with early to mid-June looking like a possible time table.
As for Ruben Tejada, he is the closest of the three to making his return to the Mets lineup. Terry Collins was hoping that his young shortstop would be returning this weekend against the Padres, but his comeback will hopefully be official on Monday, as New York welcomes the Phillies to Citi Field for the first time this season. Tejada performed half-moon drills around the infield yesterday and will be participating in more base running drills today in Port St. Lucie, as he continues to test his strained right quad to be sure that it’s game ready. Collins must be chomping at the bit for his return so he can use him in the lead off spot while Andres Torres works out of his dreadful slump lower in the order, a configuration that worked quite nicely earlier this year.