How and why does this keep happening?!
This year the New York Mets have made tremendous blunders when it has come to injury diagnoses. A surprising and disheartening trend with this team is that several players are taking way longer to recover than management originally reported.
This has happened so often that local sports radio host Mike Francesa has deemed it the “Met month”, saying fans should add a month to the timetable initially provided by the team for players to return.
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Either this is an incredible streak of bad luck or something far more serious is taking place. The team is misleading fans to thinking players will come back way sooner than actually expected. At the All-Star break the Mets currently have 10 players on the DL, leading the league.
Last Thursday, when the Mets announced that rookie pitcher Steven Matz would be placed on the disabled list because of a partially torn lat muscle in his back, speculation about when he really would return was rampant.
The 24 year-old left-hander is not expected to resume throwing for at least three weeks, according to Mets management. If that timetable holds, it will likely be another two weeks in addition for Matz to return, after he completes his rehab starts.
One example of underselling injures occurred back in Spring Training of this year. On March 12th, the Mets announced one of their top young pitchers, Zack Wheeler, would fly back to New York for an MRI on his right elbow after feeling discomfort, though it was only seen as a precaution.
A few days later on March 16th, it was revealed Wheeler had a completely torn ligament in his elbow and would undergo Tommy John surgery, missing the entire 2015 season. To make matters worse, it was also revealed the young right-hander had been pitching with elbow pain ever since the San Francisco Giants drafted him in the first round back in 2009.
David Wright is another mystery for the Mets. The star third baseman has played in only eight games this season. On April 14th, Wright pulled a hamstring sliding into second base against the Philadelphia Phillies.
For what was only supposed to be a two to three week injury has become three months due to his diagnosis of Spinal Stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column. At the halfway point of the season, Wright STILL has not been cleared to resume baseball activities, and it’s unclear if he’ll play again this year, or ever.
Multiple Mets players just this year have had similar problems. Lefty reliever Jerry Blevins suffered a broken forearm on April 20th, after being nailed by a comebacker. He was expected to miss only about six weeks. About a month after his expected return, Blevins has yet to be cleared to throw.
Fellow pitcher Rafael Montero experienced rotator cuff inflammation this April after his only start of the season against the Miami Marlins on the 28th. GM Sandy Alderson believed it was not a serious injury. Yet, it wasn’t until this past Tuesday that Montero officially began his rehab assignment, tossing one shutout inning for the team’s low minor league affiliate.
On June 20th, catcher Travis d’Arnaud suffered what was initially called a hyper extended left elbow after Atlanta Braves catcher AJ Pierzinski collided with d’Arnaud during a play at the plate. He was immediately removed from the game and missed the next day because of swelling. But the team was optimistic he would play in the first game in the three game series against the Milwaukee Brewers on the 23rd. Instead he was placed on the DL with an elbow sprain and has been in a cast ever since. His return: unknown.
This trend with Mets players isn’t exclusive to 2015 either. Back in 2011 then first baseman Ike Davis collided with David Wright on an infield pop-up against the Colorado Rockies. While Davis was in a lot of pain after the game, the team believed it would only be a day-to-day injury, with Davis saying he could probably play the next game. But Davis never played another game that season, and narrowly avoided needing surgery.
What’s causing this to happen? Is it something to due with the training staff, or is it the team doctor? Or is it the front office underselling things to keep hope alive? No one is sure.
Matz’s injury is the latest in a string for the Mets. The team already lost one pitching jewel in Zack Wheeler to serious injury. It would be shameful to lose another due to a misdiagnosis.