The Mets respond to Putz's allegations

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UPDATE: While I had seen the actual statement the Mets released about Putz before writing the business below, I had missed this story from Marty Noble at MLB.com last night. In it he relates that the Mets do, in fact, deny Putz’s claim that they told him to hide his injuries from the media.  They also say that it’s not standard to do a physical on a player in a trade, only when he’s a free agent.  Whether that means it’s not standard for the Mets to do it or standard for all teams is unclear from the article.

Seems to me, however, that if I was trading for a guy I knew to have bone spurs, I might want to check him out.  But like I said below, I’m not doctor.

4:20 P.M.: Yesterday J.J. Putz alleged that (a) the Mets didn’t give him a physical at the time he was acquired in a trade despite knowing he had a bone spur while pitching for the Mariners; (b) that his spring training physical was a “formality”; and (c) that the Mets told him not to disclose to the media that he was injured after his bone spur flared up again in May. Today the Mets responded:

“In our review of the player’s medical records in the acquisition of
J.J. Putz, we were aware that he had a bone spur before the trade.  He
had the same condition in 2008 and was able to pitch with it.  J.J.
underwent an exam during Spring Training and an additional exam and MRI
before he was cleared to play in last year’s World Baseball Classic. 
Unfortunately the spur did flare up again in May, and he missed the
rest of the season.  We are happy to hear he is feeling well, and wish
him success with the White Sox.”

That’s nice and all, but that doesn’t seem to contradict anything Putz said.  The team admits that they knew about the bone spur. They make no mention of any physical at the time of the trade, so we can assume that the Mets knowingly traded for a guy with bone spurs and did not conduct their own physical of the player.

They agree with Putz that a physical happened during spring training and presumably add the fact of the MRI to contradict Putz’s characterization of it as “a formality,” but neither side suggests that anything relating to bone spurs came up. Rather, they “flared up” in May.  Finally, the team ignores Putz’s charge that they told him not to tell anyone he was hurt.

Look, I’m no doctor, so I can’t say anything intelligent about the bone spurs, when Putz had them when he didn’t and how much trouble they gave him at any given time.  But the flare up, or not, of bone spurs seems like the least troubling part of all of this. More troubling is the lack of a physical at the time of the trade and telling the player not to disclose that he was hurt to the media, neither of which the Mets deny.

Noah Syndergaard scratched with a “tired arm”

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Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.

Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.

The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.

James Paxton has a fantastic new nickname

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James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.

And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:

“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”

“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.

“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.