According to the Mets’ timetable, today could greatly determine the make-up of their Opening Day roster and line-up, which probably won’t resemble anything you imagined a month ago.
Not even close.
The Mets hope to know more today of the status of third baseman David Wright and second baseman Daniel Murphy, both of whom have strained intercostal muscles. If reports are negative, it could give the Mets four prominent players – totaling nearly half their payroll – on the disabled list to open the season.
Combined, the salaries of left-hander Johan Santana ($31 million with the $5.5 million buyout is included), Wright ($11 million), closer Frank Francisco ($6.5 million) and Murphy ($2.95 million) amount to $51.95 million. The Mets’ 2013 payroll is yet to be determined, but assuming $100 million, that’s over half the roster’s payroll on the disabled list.
When Wright was pulled from the World Baseball Classic last Thursday with what was later diagnosed as a strained left intercostal muscle, GM Sandy Alderson said Wright would rest from three to five days.
Yesterday was the fifth day, and we should know more today on what’s next for Wright, who hasn’t made any promises regarding Opening Day.
“That’s looking to predict the future, and I can’t do that,’’ Wright told reporters when he returned to Port S. Lucie. “I don’t know how I’m going to feel … I’ll tell you that’s my goal.’’
When first informed of Wright’s injury, manager Terry Collins, citing Murphy’s injury this year and Wright’s strained side last year, projected the All-Star could be out at least a month.
Murphy strained his right intercostal muscle early in camp and played five innings of defense in a minor league game last weekend, but has been held out since because of continued stiffness.
Collins said he hopes Murphy will be ready today, but if he’s not by this weekend the disabled list was the probability.
“If he’s not back in a game, you’re down to seven days,’’ Collins said. “That’s not a lot of time to get somebody who hasn’t done anything all spring to get him ready.’’
Meanwhile, there’s been little progress with Santana, down with shoulder fatigue, and Francisco, who has a persistent stinging feeling in his elbow after throwing. It has been a foregone conclusion for weeks now that both will be placed on the disabled list, and neither is expected to be with the Mets next season.
After spending the better part of the last two years rehabbing his surgically-repaired shoulder, Santana lightened up his off-season routine and consequently wasn’t in prime condition when he reported to camp. The Mets called him on that which annoyed Santana and prompted him – in an effort to quell criticism – to throw off the mound on March 3 without notifying Collins.
At the time, Santana hadn’t thrown in over a week and wasn’t supposed to throw for another week. Even so, Collins hoped Santana would be ready for the season. That won’t happen now as Collins said last weekend Santana wasn’t close to throwing again.
Why the Mets haven’t officially announced Santana will go on the disabled list is anybody’s guess, but Collins said Jon Niese would replace him as the Opening Day starter and Jeremy Hefner will take his place on the roster and then take his spot in the rotation.
Collins also said Bobby Parnell will take Francisco’s role as he closer. Francisco threw off the mound Saturday and reported feeling pain.
An injury also impacted center field, as a bruised left knee sidelined Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who’ll open the season at Triple-A Las Vegas. Nieuwenhuis’ injury opened a spot for Collin Cowgill to be the starter.
Cowgill could lead off and play center in a line-up that might also include Lucas Duda and Marlon Byrd in the outfield; an infield – from first to third – of Ike Davis, Valdespin, Ruben Tejada and Murphy; with John Buck behind the plate and Niese on the mound.
Bet you didn’t see this coming.