Jose Quintana injury too reminiscent of 2 recent IL stints for other starting pitchers

Feb 28, 2023; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets manager Buck Showalter (11) replaces New
Feb 28, 2023; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets manager Buck Showalter (11) replaces New / Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets won’t escape Spring Training minus bite marks from the injury bug. Jose Quintana was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his fifth rib, leaving the veteran starter doubtful for the start of the season.

Exactly how much time Quintana will miss is unknown at this time. Unfortunately, it’s an all-too-familiar piece of injury news reminiscent of two recent disasters for the team.

The Mets losing newcomer Jose Quintana in the spring is too familiar

In 2018, free agent Jason Vargas was hurt in spring and wouldn’t make his season debut until April 28. It wasn’t an especially long IL stint to start the year. Nonetheless, the disruption helped get him off to a tremendously horrid start.

Vargas tossed 3.2 innings in his first start of the season. He was charged with 9 earned runs before exiting. He was routinely pummeled by the opponent and would land on the IL again after his start on June 19.

It’s nothing unusual for a pitcher to get hurt in the spring, miss time, and then come back only to get hurt again. Vargas’ injury isn’t an excuse for his 2018 performance nor can we exclusively blame the 2021 season Carlos Carrasco had for why he was so bad.

Carrasco didn’t make his Mets debut until July 30, 2021. He was eased into action, pitched well in his first two outings. He lasted 4 and 4.1 innings in those successful starts. He fell off the wagon in his next outing, leaving after only one inning and 4 earned runs charged against him.

Carrasco never got on cruise control in 2021. After six starts he was 0-2 with a 6.94 ERA. He’d end the year 1-5 with a 6.04 ERA after a slightly better September helped him knock down the ERA by almost a full run.

This isn’t cause for any alarm. The Mets are set up with enough starting pitching depth to get through however long Quintana misses. The coincidence in adding a veteran starter who gets hurt early and misses time is still too hard to ignore. We even saw Jacob deGrom miss the start of the 2022 season only to return and have a good but not superstar stretch for the team.

There won’t be any perfect way for the Mets to handle Quintana other than to make sure he’s ready to return. Already a guy who will probably only give the team about five innings at the most each time out, it will probably take a couple of outings before he can qualify for a win. Hopefully that return is sooner than later.

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