Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Mets continue to handle injured players weirdly

19 Comments

With the new collective bargaining agreement, the minimum stay on the disabled list was shortened from 15 days to 10 days as a way to incentivize players and their teams to stop hiding and playing through injuries. If a player had a minor injury that he and/or the team felt would only take a week or so to get through, the player would simply sit on the bench for that period of time, essentially nullifying the utility of one spot on the roster. With the 10-day disabled list, that isn’t as much of an issue now.

The Mets, however, have been very averse to putting players on the disabled list still. Travis d'Arnaud is a good example. The catcher suffered a wrist injury on April 19 against the Phillies. He didn’t start from April 20-23, but appeared in all four games as a pinch-hitter. After a team off-day, d’Arnaud started on the 26th but only lasted five innings. On May 2, d’Arnaud left after six innings against the Brewers. The Mets didn’t put him in the lineup yesterday nor is he in tonight’s starting lineup. As D.J. Short suggested, the Mets could put him on the disabled list, which would free up a roster spot that the club is otherwise using sub-optimally.

d’Arnaud isn’t the only example. Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes left the Mets’ April 20 game against the Phillies with a cramp in his left hamstring. He was held out of the lineup for the next five days and returned on the 26th. He started both on the 26th and 27th, but went on the disabled list on the 28th. The next day, the Mets refused to tell the media the exact severity of the injury, instead vaguely saying it was a “non-serious” injury. Usually, with hamstring strains, the team tells the media whether it’s a Grade 1, 2, or 3 strain with a Grade 3 strain being the most severe.

Lucas Duda hyperextended his left elbow on April 19 against the Phillies. The Mets held him out on the 20th, then placed him on the disabled list on the 21st.

This is all in conjunction with the Noah Syndergaard situation. Syndergaard was scratched from his start on April 27 with biceps tendinitis. On the 29th, the right-hander refused to undergo an MRI, which the team allowed for some reason. On the 30th, Syndergaard started but lasted only 1 1/3 innings in what turned out to be a 23-5 drubbing by the Nationals. He was diagnosed with a torn lat muscle.

The Mets are very passive when it comes to their injured players. They wait a long time before placing them on the disabled list, completely ignoring the added incentives for them to do so. By continuing to use banged-up players, they increase the risk of those injured players exacerbating their injuries. And they allow some of their players to dictate medical treatment as evidenced by the Syndergaard case. Why have medical personnel on staff if you’re not going to use them, especially when it comes to your most important players?

Winners of 87 games last year, the Mets enter Thursday’s action 12-15, good for fourth place in the NL East. How many of those losses might have been wins if the club had a more proactive approach to player health?

Anthony Alford to miss 4-6 weeks following wrist surgery

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.

Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.

Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.

Stephen Strasburg hit a new career high today

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.

It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.

While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.

The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”