Mets Must Overhaul Handling Of Injuries

While introducing the Sandy Alderson Era, Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon promised a different mentality emanating from the top. The Mets would be more aggressive in obtaining talent, and perhaps just as importantly, more diligent and proactive in keeping that talent on the field.

The Mets have long been criticized for their handling of injured players, including David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, Ryan Church, Pedro Martinez, Ike Davis and the list goes on.

WILPON: Needs to overhaul handling of injuries. (AP)

WILPON: Needs to overhaul handling of injuries. (AP)

Injuries haven’t been diagnosed properly, players played when they should’ve been benched or were rushed back. Players also haven’t been proactive in reporting injuries, which in the case of Matt Harvey, this likely lead to his surgery. Perhaps most bizarre was when Beltran opted to have surgery on his own.

This season has been about injuries and an 11-game winning streak. That streak is why they’re where they are considering they lead the major leagues with 12 players on the disabled list.

Eight players are gone from the Opening Day roster, and three players in the starting lineup in Sunday’s game at Arizona were injury related. There’s not a day when injuries aren’t the focal point. Injuries will dictate if the Mets make the playoffs; what, or if, they’ll make any trades; and possibly, their offseason agenda.

What should also happen is a complete overhaul of their injury protocol. From the trainers, to the team physicians, to the organization’s philosophy in handling and treating injuries, everything should be on the table for review. What they are doing now isn’t working.

Why, over the years, has there been a glut of arm injuries resulting in Tommy John surgery? Why have there been so many muscle pulls and strains? Is there a problem in the offseason training program? Are players encouraged or discouraged to report aches and pains?

Do the pitchers throw too much or not enough? Is nutrition an issue? Do the players stretch enough? Is there too much weight lifting during the season?

There’s not a constant with each injury, but something isn’t right and it must change. Teams like to say, “next man up,’’ but for the Mets it seems to be “who’s the next to go down?’’ Yes, injuries are part of the game, but for the Mets it seems to be all nine innings.

What should also be noted is playoff caliber teams need to overcome injuries and adversity, and that brings us back full circle to Wilpon and Alderson. Will ownership provide the financial resources, and does Alderson have the capabilities to fill the void?

We’re waiting.

 

14 thoughts on “Mets Must Overhaul Handling Of Injuries

  1. It starts from the top. The cancer is where the owners are.

    As for the injuries, it is not just the Mets but baseball in general. I don’t think the injuries are a condition of the offseason program as much as the program itself.

  2. Um, injuries happen. Tommy John surgery has plagued Mets’ pitchers, but it’s a blight on the entire sport. Teams like the Braves had two pitchers undergo their second operations in the same year. This isn’t a phenomenon unique to the Mets. That’s just not fair.

    Otherwise, what injuries are you preventing? Wright has a spinal condition, d’Arnaud was hit with a pitch, Murphy pulled a quad. I mean, players get hurt. It’s a long season. What is it they’re supposed to do? The Hospital for Special Surgery is a destination for athletes all over the world, and it’s the primary source of medicine for the Mets. The trainers are doing what they can.

    It’s easy to call for an “overhaul” of “injury protocol” but what does that even mean? Would you like for them to sit players who have an ouchie on their knee? They sat Cuddyer for a stiff neck on this last road trip. Was that an act of aggression or caution? It’s easy to take pot shots at the Mets for their injuries because of the reputation they developed over the last decade. But it’s not rooted in science. It’s rooted in disillusionment from the fan base.

    • Are you arguing that the way the players are trained/maintained is good?

      Certainly injuries happen, but the history of this team indicates they are doing something wrong.

      How many top pitchers of ours in the past few years have had tommy john? Is that normal? If so why?

      • I’m arguing that using injury history that dates back nine years is a foolhardy when assessing this roster and their methodology with treating injuries. I would honestly love to know what they’re “doing wrong” this year. Any time, I’d love for someone to tell me how they’ve caused these injuries.

        As for Tommy John – and as I noted – it’s a blight on the entire sport. There are pitchers everywhere falling victim to torn elbows. Yes, the Mets have had several – more than other teams. Yet they’re following innings protocols and pitch counts just as much or even more so than other systems. What we do know is it’s “normal” for young pitchers to need the surgery after years of abuse on the elbow. That has become the norm, as kids are throwing harder and heavier pitches all the way down to grade school. But I don’t know the answers here. No one does. The Mets don’t. World renowned surgeons don’t. If someone did, they would be very rich, very famous, and we wouldn’t be talking about this.

  3. Injuries DO happen. Some of them are just bad luck or just guys that are somewhat more fragile than others like d’Arnaud and Wright. A LOT of it has to do with the team thugh. Beltran was told by the team that if he could handle the pain in his knee than he’d not be doing any further damage to it. That as we know was absolutely false. Reyes was allowed to hit with a strained oblique. Church played for a few days with a head injury, Pedro wrote in his book that the Wilpons told him that as long as they were paying him he was going to pitch when they told him too. He had a toe injury at the time and they were 10+ games out in September. Harvey pitched for a month with tightness in his forearm. They made a trade for a pitcher who had JUST missed a start without having their own team doctors examine the pitcher. They traded the #1 lefty pitching prospect in the minor leagues for him too (Kazmir/Zambrano). How long did Wright play with the fracture in his back? Can anyone say with any certainty that didn’t contribute to his current diagnosis?

        • That’s amusing. Especially since I’ve been overly critical of ownership, of Matt Harvey’s past antics, of the roster construction prior to this season, and countless other horrors this team has introduced into our lives. But sure, avoid presenting a rebuttal. It makes you look smart.

        • Sigh. Did you even read the original comment? Don’t comment if you’re going to go off on a tangent we weren’t even discussing.