Doug’s Dugout: Holy Kervokian, That Didn’t Take Long!
In Doug’s Dugout today, it’s “deja vu all over again,” with the news that David Wright will miss this week due to a nagging rib injury (but last week he had a great day in the weight room-cue the applause). It’s only March, but what Mets’ fan is not a tad alarmed?
This is (already) getting monotonous with injury news rushing in each day. How many times has “day to day”" morphed into the disabled list in recent years? Terry Collins says, “we’re all banged up.” In March?From Carlos Beltran to Jose’ Reyes, to Ike Davis (and now Tim Brydak) the names change but the lousy luck remains the same. Maybe the next time a player develops a blister or hang nail the clubhouse should be quarantined.
Year after year this franchise is plagued by nagging injuries that not only saps man power but the patience of it’s faithful. Since it’s only spring training this is no time to jump off the Shea bridge. Please get mildly annoyed.
However, if Wright’s re-appearance becomes cloudier by the day who can blame Mets fans for donning gas masks and heading into the bunker? Same holds true if Johan Santana experiences a set-back that costs him upwardly mobile movement.
Several things have to happen this season for the Mets not to fall into the abyss and lose 90 games. First of all, it’s all hands on deck, and Wright has to lead (operative word) the way and play in 150 games. And produce healthy numbers: 30-100 is a good place to start and .300 average would be a bonus.
Nevertheless, he’s off to a slow start this spring. Maybe the cortisone injection he received yesterday will speed his return. Unlikely because the drug only provides temporary relief and masks the pain. It’s not a magic potion that eliminates the injury.
Should Wright’s commitment or toughness-he played with a broken back for a time last season be questioned? No, but this rib injury is starting to be felt by more than just him.
Speaking of injuries, in yesterday’s edition of his NY Post blog, Dan Martin wrote the following about Byrdak:
Wright will be joined in New York by lefty reliever Tim Byrdak, who has been bothered by a sore left knee. The Mets don’t expect Byrdak’s absence to be lengthy, but they are thin virtually all over the roster and that includes lefty relievers.
After that stellar reporting (or poor information regurgitated by the medical or PR staff) it was updated yesterday that Byrdak would need arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus and miss six weeks. From the team not expecting him not be miss much time to SIX WEEKS, in a single bound!
Conversely, Santana has looked like his diligent rehab is paying off. Then again, 5 2/3 innings is just a small sampling. What the Mets really need is for him to regain his status as the “King of Queens.” If the Mets are not in the black when he is on the hill, well, you do the math.Moreover, Jason Bay has to get his mojo back.
If Bay hits he will help the team two-fold: One, he will drive in needed runs and two, squash the “where has Bay’s stroke gone,” the ad nauseam pieces published daily. Enough of his travails.
He needs to go up there hacking and hope for the best (does he have a hit this spring?). Stop being over analytical about every at-bat and let your instincts take command. With the fences moved in at Citi Field this season there are no more built in excuses.
It’s time for the Big Three to start producing numbers commensurate to their pay stubs. Are those realistic or unreasonable expectations? It says here reasonable. After all, the trio is poised to earn approximately $54 million (more than half of total payroll) combined this season.
If the Mets are striving to be a lean and mean organization then it’s imperative that the ones earning the lion’s share give the organization (and fans) their moneys worth.
(It’s a sad indictment about the game when money constantly seeps into the conversation. But that’s the reality today, along with $20 parking).
Basically, it’s put up or shut-up time for Santana, Bay, and Wright. Otherwise, the diagnosis is negative. From “Byrd” flu to Valley Fever. Soon the sterling medical corpse, er, corps, will qualify for combat pay. It’s easy to scapegoat the trainers, but with their record who doesn’t feel a bit skittish?
All I know, and that is little, is I would love to see Collins have a complete roster at his disposal-for once. Loyal Mets fans deserve that and more.
About the Author: Doug Branch
Doug has been sports writing since 1983. He first wrote about the Mets at spring training that year, and his first interviewee was surly catcher Ron Hodges. He currently writes for Mets Inside Pitch, among other magazines published by Scout Publishing-which is owned by Fox Sports. He began following the team during the Wes Westrum era, and redeemed many Borden milk coupons for free Saturday baseball. The night of Tom Seaver's imperfect game against the Cubs, he was in line to buy a ticket when the windows slammed shut and abject disappointment ensued.
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