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.

Must-Click Link: “Skunk in the Outfield”

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Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.

No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.

Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.

Set some time aside to read this today.

Rubby De La Rosa to undergo a second Tommy John Surgery

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This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.

De La Rosa has had elbow  issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.

I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.

He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.