Is Daric Barton a fit for the Mets?

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The Athletics designated first baseman Daric Barton for assignment earlier today as the 27-year-old was carrying a sluggish .143 average through 23 plate appearances. On the other side of the country, the Mets have just about hit their tipping point with Ike Davis as D.J. Short pointed out earlier. Davis is hitting .156 with 46 strikeouts in 151 trips to the dish after today’s 0-for-4 performance against the Cubs. The Mets are considering demoting Davis, which would open up a spot at first base.

If the Mets do go through with a demotion, they will indeed take a look at Barton according to MetsBlog. While Barton isn’t much of a hitter himself, he does draw a lot of walks (he led the American League with 110 walks in 2010) and play above-average defense at first base, two important assets that Davis does not provide.

Freddie Freeman could be activated weeks ahead of schedule

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Freddie Freeman tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he’s hoping to be activated from the disabled list on July 9 for the beginning of a series versus the Nationals. That would be ahead of the schedule originally announced when he went down with a wrist injury on May 18. At the time he was expected to miss ten weeks, which would’ve put his return date around July 27 or later.

Freeman will take live batting practice Wednesday and if that goes well will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett on Saturday. If all goes well, he’ll play on July 9. And as we noted before: he’ll likely be playing third base.

When he went down Freeman was putting up MVP-esque numbers, hitting .341/.461/.748 with an MLB-high 14 home runs and 25 RBI in 165 plate appearances while playing solid defense. Now, based on the time off and on the new position, he’ll be starting his season anew in more ways than one.

Ron Darling rips Mets trainers after yet another player goes down with an injury

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Last night starter Robert Gsellman became the latest Mets player to go down with an injury when he strained his hamstring while running out a ground ball. He’s certain to go on the disabled list, making him the sixth Mets starter to go down this year. He’ll join Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Juan Lagares, Neil Walker, Matt Harvey, David Wright, Jeurys Familia and many, many other Mets on the DL.

Mets broadcaster Ron Darling is fed up with it. Last night, after Gsellman went down, he went off on the Mets trainers, who he believes to be enabling all of this:

“[These] trainers, get them in a room with some of the old trainers and people that took care of baseball players and how to keep them healthy. And get them in a room and try to tap into their knowledge on how you train baseball players — not weightlifters, not six-pack wearers — baseball players. They’re doing a disservice to their million-dollar athletes that they’re paying. It’s a joke to watch this happen each and every night.”

Here’s video of his rant:

Darling is certainly tapping into a frustration a lot of Mets fans feel. For years the Mets injury issues have vexed the fanbase, less so for the sheer number of them — other teams have had more DL trips for their players — than for the manner in which they were handled and/or discussed by the team. They’ve often been loathe to use the disabled list even when it makes sense to and have, at times, run guys out to play despite there being serious red flags which would counsel most teams from doing so.

But is he right about why the players are getting injured? It’s a commonly held bit of conventional wisdom that players using weight training and being muscular makes them more brittle, but I’m unaware of any science that backs that up (if you have some, please pass it along, I’d genuinely be interested in reading it). Maybe it’s true, maybe it isn’t, but Darling seems so certain about it.

He could be right. But I also suspect that Darling may be falling prey to some back-in-my-dayism that retired players often exhibit. Are players getting injured more or are they merely being diagnosed better? Are they getting more seriously injured, or are they just taken out of action more quickly rather than be left to play through injuries like so many old timers have claimed they had to back in the 50s, 60s and 70s? Fireballers used to try to hang on as junkballers after suffering elbow injuries that today would send a guy to surgery. There was a much greater tolerance for lumbering slow dudes who might take it easy with a bad hammy as opposed to getting shut down now.

None of which is to say that Darling is wrong, necessarily. Like I said, maybe there is something to the idea that weight training and musculature makes a player more brittle. But I am always loathe to nod along with an old player who says the science and medicine surrounding sports has regressed compared to where it was back in his day. It may be true, but it’s counterintuitive given how science and medicine usually work. And when you offer a counterintuitive take like that, I think you need more evidence than your frustration at an injury occurring in front of you in real time.