This was a harrowing week for the New York Mets on the injury front, however things reached a climax on Sunday, when they not only got massacred by the Washington Nationals 23-5, but lost right-hander Noah Syndergaard to a lat injury in the process.
With one out in the second inning, Syndergaard clutched his right armpit and was in obvious discomfort after throwing a 90 mph changeup to Bryce Harper. It didn’t take long for Terry Collins and trainer Ray Ramirez to run out and remove him from the game.
They wasted no time in flying Syndergaard to New York for an MRI and both Terry Collins and GM Sandy Alderson were quick to say that the “potential lat strain” had nothing to do with biceps issue Thor had been dealing with all week.
Not many were buying that including SNY analyst Nelson Figueroa who blasted the Mets for not ordering Syndergaard to have the MRI five days ago after he refused to take one because he felt the biceps issue was minor.
The Mets diagnosed Syndergaard with bicep tendinitis last week causing him to miss a start, but he refused to go for an MRI even after he admitted that he couldn’t raise his arm above his shoulder without pain.
“We took him at face value,” Alderson told reporters. “He threw a pen and felt fine. We also had a recommendation made by the doctor, who felt strongly that he was fine.”
This development comes on the heels of the Yoenis Cespedes debacle, when the team initially diagnosed his leg injury as a “cramp” only to end up placing him on the 10-day disabled list with a hamstring injury.
For Cespedes, it was his second left hamstring injury in a week when he had to be helped off the field last Thursday at Citi Field after hitting a double.
It’s also the second straight season that Cespedes suffered a leg injury that the Mets prescribed a few days of rest, had him come back before he was completely healed, and then lost him to the DL.
“I didn’t have any concern about how it was handled, but I was a little disappointed because it was similar to a situation we had last year where we tried to keep him active,” Alderson said. “We told ourselves that we wouldn’t let that happen again and it happened again.”
Alderson said that the hamstring strain doesn’t look too serious, but admitted that the Mets might have to look at their conditioning and exercise programs to see if they can prevent these types of injuries.
The problem with the Mets is not just the injuries, all teams have injuries, but with the Mets it’s all the other stuff that goes on ranging from misdiagnosed injuries, always downplaying the severity of injuries, rampant miscommunication between the doctors, players and staff, and lame attempts to hide the facts from the media who always find out the facts anyway through leaks and back channels causing embarrassment for the organization.
The team’s own beat writers are constantly criticizing Terry Collins, Sandy Alderson and head trainer Ray Ramirez on social media, and there is now a cloud of mistrust that causes them to second guess the team’s handling of injuries and even the team’s preliminary diagnoses of injuries.
The Mets and their handling of injuries have also become a running joke with mainstream media who rip into them time after time, but now it’s gotten so bad that even their own network killed them this weekend, referring to the front office, training staff and medical team as being inept and incompetent.
“Ignorance always seems to be the best course of treatment when it comes to Mets injuries, and this is another epic fail. Incredibly, this just happened last week with Yoenis Cespedes, whose own hamstring condition wasn’t treated carefully enough — the team first labeled it a “cramp” — and finally put him on the disabled list.” – David Lennon, Newsday
“GM Sandy Alderson admitted, “We’ll never know” if an MRI of the biceps area — where Syndergaard experienced pain five days ago — would have revealed a secondary area of concern. That’s what’s unforgivable: for a team that’s had a horrific record of caring for its players, not nearly enough was done to protect Thor.” – Bob Klapisch, Bergen Record
There’s a lot of material like that out there this morning and while there’s plenty of blame to go around for what ensued this week, the real question is will this ever end?
“I can’t tie him down and throw him in the tube,” Sandy Alderson quipped on Friday. And he’s right, you can’t do that. But you can put him on the 10-day DL if he doesn’t comply and not allow him to throw one more pitch until he does.
“Would the MRI have disclosed a lat issue or reaffirmed some concern about the bicep?’’ Alderson said when pressed on Sunday if he had any regrets. “We’ll never know.”
And there’s your problem – at least in the case of Syndergaard – the Mets could have and should have known.