May 08

Mets Wrap: Mets Show Resiliency

For the second time in eight days, the Mets got back to their feet after taking what could have been a knockout punch. Tonight they responded from Matt Harvey’s latest brush with immaturity, while a week ago today they responded from losing Noah Syndergaard and by 17 runs to the Nationals.

WALKER: Raps game-winner. (AP)

WALKER: Raps game-winner. (AP)

Tonight, Neil Walker’s ninth-inning single carried the Mets 4-3 victory over the Giants to push the Harvey Soap Opera to the back burner. We’ll see how things are tomorrow when Harvey returns to Citi Field.

The Mets reached the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, both times overcoming a myriad of injuries and lengthy team hitting slump to play meaningful October baseball.

They are already facing the same obstacles this season but responded with a stretch of losing 10 of 11 by winning seven of ten.

“You can’t let things linger, you have to move on,” manager Terry Collins said, referring to both Syndergaard’s injury and Harvey’s latest. “We have a great bunch. They are a group of veteran guys. They don’t let down.”

Collins said a win like tonight can be built on to define a season.

“It can,” Collins said. “Yesterday was a tough day. They showed up today and got after it. You have to be resilient in this game. You have to deal with it.”

DeGROM OFF: With Syndergaard on the 60-day disabled list and no knowing where Harvey’s head or heart is located, it’s up to Jacob deGrom to lead what was supposed to be a dominating staff.

Actually, the marquee staff of deGrom, Syndergaard, Harvey, Steve Matz (on the disabled list) and today’s starter Zack Wheeler have never gone through the rotation in order.

DeGrom struck out at least ten for the fourth time in five starts, but walked three and gave up homers to Hunter Pence and Buster Posey in six innings.

By definition, it was a quality start, but deGrom was having none of that talk: “It was better than the last one, but there were still walks and I didn’t get the ball down like I wanted to. If I could figure out I would. I left two balls up and they hit it over the fence.”

MILONE TO START: Newly-acquired Tommy Milone will start Wednesday in the series finale against the Giants. Milone will replace Rafael Montero.

CESPEDES UPDATE: Collins said Yoenis Cespedes reports his hamstring is feeling better, but he is still at least ten days from resuming baseball activities and two weeks from getting in a game.

If you recall, when Cespedes was placed on the disabled list, Alderson said he could be back by May 8, which, of course, is today.

 

May 08

Mets To Protect Harvey With Friday Return

The Mets are thinking about Friday as a return to the mound for Matt Harvey. He will return to the ballpark tomorrow to make his apologies and pitch again Friday when the Mets are in Milwaukee – away from the prying microphones and cameras that would besiege him at Citi Field.

HARVEY: Looking at Friday. (AP)

HARVEY: Looking at Friday. (AP)

It seemed logical the Mets should start him Wednesday afternoon over Rafael Montero, who can’t find the plate with a GPS, or recently-acquired Tommy Milone.

Instead, this is just another example of the Mets massaging Harvey’s fragile ego; do it in Milwaukee to spare him the boos he’d undoubtedly hear in New York.

C’mon, admit it, if you were going to be at Citi Field Wednesday, part of you would want to stand up and vent your anger at Harvey, the same anger GM Sandy Alderson finally did.

After acquiescing to Harvey’s pettiness and demands since 2013 – from hiding pain in his forearm that eventually lead to Tommy John surgery, to complaining where he would do his rehab, to his innings fiasco in 2015, to missing a World Series workout because he got caught in traffic and it was later discovered he was out partying the night before, to pitching a fit in the dugout to stay in Game 5 of the World Series he eventually kicked away – Alderson finally had enough.

“We have a policy here,” Collins said of Harvey’s for an unexcused absence Saturday. “I thought it was the right thing to do. I know it’s dramatic, but I think any team in baseball would have probably reacted very similarly. And it wasn’t just Matt Harvey. Anybody in that room that misses a day and nobody knows about it, we’ve got to do the same thing.”

Harvey said he developed a migraine headache after golfing and there was a miscommunication of explaining his absence that the Mets weren’t buying.

I’m not either, because how could he not have Alderson’s cell number? Or, Collins? Or trainer Ray Ramirez?

If we’re venturing guesses, I think him being in Ottawa watching the Rangers is as good as any.

Anyway, before Harvey throws his first pitch, he’ll have some groveling to do with his teammates tomorrow afternoon.

“I know one thing about our society: You make a mistake, you stand up, be accountable and move on,” Collins said. “He needs to address the guys. We’ve got to get this behind us. However he wants to go about doing that, I’ll sign on for it.

“We have a good clubhouse. Understand, you’re never going to have 25 that all like each other. But they respect each other and that’s all I want.”

Harvey may have lost that respect and has a long way to go to earn it back.

May 07

The Drama Never Ends With Harvey

For once, the Mets acted quickly when it came to Matt Harvey, suspending their one-time wonder pitcher who is going from future star to supernova. The Mets suspended Harvey for three days today without pay for violating club rules. Left-hander Adam Wilk was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas to replace Harvey and after flying all night was shelled for six runs in the Mets 7-0, one-hit, loss to the Marlins.

HARVEY: He's hiding something. (ESPN)

HARVEY: He’s hiding something. (ESPN)

Not surprisingly, neither GM Sandy Alderson nor manager Terry Collins specified why Harvey was suspended, leading us to wonder on social media. Alderson read a short announcement and did not take questions, leaving Collins alone to address the latest Mets-Harvey soap opera.

“We’ll keep it in-house, the way it’s supposed to be,” Collins said.

Except it won’t stay in-house. It never does.

The Mets obviously knew they would suspend Harvey, Saturday afternoon, but delayed in doing so to give Wilk time to fly in from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Undoubtedly, they had to wait to make the announcement less than three hours before game time in case Wilk didn’t make it on time.

The Mets waited for Harvey to come to Citi Field before telling him he was suspended and sent him home. Of course, he did not address the media.

The club did say the offending incident had nothing to do with an adult sex toy placed in Kevin Plawecki’s locker for the world to see while T.J. Rivera was being interviewed. Multiple reports had Harvey not being at the ballpark Saturday, saying he played golf and came off the course with a migraine headache and there was a miscommunication with the Mets, who disputed that account which further clouds the story.

If it were accurate it would alleviate the drama that always swirls around Harvey. The Mets mislead us before, so it would not be a surprise if it happens again. If the headache story were true, even if there was a screw up in getting the message to the Mets, there likely wouldn’t be a suspension. If the Mets bought into it, even if not true, this story would die down quickly after Harvey apologized.

The bottom line: Do you honestly believe Harvey doesn’t have the cell phone numbers of Alderson, Collins and trainer Ray Ramirez? Even if they didn’t pick up, they would have gotten the message. Even if Harvey was ill, he should have shown up, gotten looked at by the trainers, and be sent home.

Since the Mets are playing hide-and-seek with the truth, let me seek. My guess is instead of working on his pre-game routine prior to a start – shagging flies, looking at film, light throwing, or whatever – he took off for Ottawa, Canada, to watch the Rangers. That’s not a report. It is conjecture because the Mets aren’t giving us the truth.

“There are things that go on that you deal with every day that makes the job difficult, but you know it comes with the territory,” Collins said. “This is one of those. … In order to control things, you’ve sometimes got to make tough decisions.”

With Syndergaard out, Zack Wheeler trying to come back, Rafael Montero on his way out of the rotation, and Robert Gsellman erratic, would the Mets really give up a chance to go for a sweep of the Marlins over a headache?

I’m guessing no.

The greatest ability is dependability and Harvey’s teammates can’t rely on him. That the Mets said their decision was based on a compilation of things with Harvey is indicative of his repeated irresponsibility.

“We’re disappointed,” said Jose Reyes. “We are counting on him.”

“Whatever the reason happens to be, he’s not on the field,” said Curtis Granderson. “There’s a lot of guys that are on the field at this moment in time. We’ll just have to keep moving forward.”

Alderson tried desperately to trade Jay Bruce this winter, and ironically he is rapidly becoming a team spokesman.

“I don’t know if I’d use the word `frustrating,’ ” Bruce said. “There are team policies and when those aren’t followed, action has to be taken. I don’t know any of the details. I just know that Matt’s not here [Saturday].”

However, this won’t end with a simple apology to his teammates, because Harvey’s camp said a grievance would be filed with the Players Association against the Mets.

Yes, that will smooth things over.

May 06

Will Cabrera Injury Open Way For Rosario?

Mets GM Sandy Alderson said if all the signs are aligned, then yes, Amed Rosario could be brought up if shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is placed on the disabled list with a thumb injury. Already slowed by hamstring and knee problems, Cabrera seemingly jammed his left thumb attempting to make a diving stop in the third inning of tonight’s 11-3 Mets’ rout of Miami at Citi Field.

CABRERA: Thumb injury shelves shortstop. (NY Daily News)

CABRERA: Thumb injury shelves shortstop. (NY Daily News)

Alderson said X-Rays were negative and Cabrera will have an MRI Sunday.

Previously, Alderson said he didn’t want to elevate Rosario this early to maintain the leverage of keeping him away from arbitration and free agency for another year. However, Alderson insisted the Mets’ immediate on-field issues take precedent.

“If we have a need at this point in the season, would we consider it? Yes,” Alderson told SNY during a rain delay.

Rosario, the Mets’ highest-rated position player prospect, is hitting .381 with a .927 OPS at Triple-A Las Vegas. A downside of bringing up Rosario now, is that if Cabrera is able to play relatively soon, what would happen to the prospect? Certainly, they won’t sit Jose Reyes, who is sizzling, and they don’t want Rosario to sit in the majors.

“It is nice to be put in a situation where there are expectations,” manager Terry Collins told reporters of a possible promotion. “If he comes up here, he’ll need to play.”

Of course, with Cabrera out, it would enable Reyes – who isn’t thrilled at third base – to move back to shortstop and play Wilmer Flores at third base. Collins said that is the immediate plan without Rosario.

The Mets toyed with the idea of switching Cabrera and Reyes, but the former wasn’t agreeable to the idea.

While I am anxious to see Rosario like everybody else, knowing how the Mets to things, they won’t bring him up now, especially when they have options.

ON DECK LATER TONIGHT: Mets Wrap: Offense Keeps Humming

May 01

MRI Results Reveal Bad News We Saw Coming; Alderson’s Decision To Start Syndergaard

UPDATED:  Adding GM Sandy Alderson comments at 6:30 p.m.

Who didn’t see this coming for the Mets?

When Noah Syndergaard refused an MRI exam after being diagnosed with biceps tendinitis, yet remained scheduled to pitch Sunday, it was figured the following could happen: a) he’d get roughed up by the Nationals, b) he’d still have arm soreness, c) that arm soreness would be deemed serious.Syndergaard hitting the trifecta, which happened today when an MRI at the Hospital

Syndergaard hit the trifecta, which happened today when an MRI at the Hospital of Special Surgery revealed a partial tear of his right lat muscle. He was immediately placed on the 10-day disabled list with no timetable for his return.

SYNDERGAARD: Walks away, wheels turning. (AP)

SYNDERGAARD: Mets get bad news they feared. (AP)

As a measure of reference, Steven Matz missed two months in 2015 with a similar injury.

The news came less than a week after Yoenis Cespedes was rushed back into the lineup and re-pulled his left hamstring and placed on the disabled list and tempered any positive feelings from winning the first two games of their weekend series against the Nationals.

Oh yeah, Syndergaard’s injury in Sunday’s 23-5 rout also closed their hellish 10-14 April. One thing Syndergaard’s MRI did not do is answer the questions of responsibility.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson said “It was my decision for him to pitch.” He said it was based on input from several sources, including Syndergaard’s.

Syndergaard’s refusal to take the MRI is beyond comprehension as the mighty Thor must have dropped that hammer on his head. You’re a major league pitcher whose livelihood is based on the health of your arm and yet you refuse an exam that could reveal a problem?

I’m waiting … go ahead, tell me how smart that is. And, while you’re at it, spare me talk there is a difference between a lat and biceps so an MRI would have shown nothing, although that’s how Alderson tried to spin things.

However, there’s no telling how the muscles interact. Syndergaard was overthrowing in the second inning, muscling up to throw harder. Was this to compensate for something bothering his biceps? And you is to say an MRI wouldn’t have discovered some wear – but not yet a tear – in his lat muscle?

Alderson did admit “anything is possible,” when asked if Syndergaard was overthrowing to compensate for the previous discomfort in his arm. Alderson also admitted it was conceivable Syndergaard bulked up too much in the offseason, adding 15 pounds by weight lifting.

That leads to the further question of whether – and how closely – Syndergaard’s offseason conditioning program was monitored.

We can’t ignore Alderson has to be the adult here. His comment, “I can’t tie him down and throw him in the tube” could become the epitaph on the tombstone of this season. Alderson said a team can’t put a player who is not injured on the disabled list, but he can tell Syndergaard that he either takes the MRI or goes on the disabled list.

That’s part of protecting his players, something manager Terry Collins and pitching coach Dan Warthen, didn’t do a good job of either.

Didn’t anybody in that dugout notice this valuable asset struggling, and this has nothing to do with the radar gun still showing the high 90s? Weren’t those five runs in the first inning a tip off?

When Alderson was hired, Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon promised a complete evaluation of the club’s medical operations. That hasn’t been done, unless of course, you consider letting the players call the shots.