Mets GM Sandy Alderson answered many of the questions pertaining to Zack Wheeler’s injury Monday. However, that doesn’t mean he answered them all, and that’s not to say the Mets’ handling of the injury couldn’t have been better.
Alderson defended his handling of Wheeler’s injury, and as he frequently does with these things, his tenor came off as condescending and maddening. As usual, he came across as the lawyer treating us like idiots.
Most irksome was how he described Wheeler’s breakdown as “inevitable,’’ much as it was for Matt Harvey and saying the Mets’ treatment of each was the same.
“Let me just ask, why would we treat somebody like Harvey with the kind of caution that we did and then throw somebody else under the bus – somebody of essentially equal value to us as an organization?’’ Alderson said to reporters today. “That wouldn’t make any sense. I understand people can debate the number of pitches and the number of innings and this and that. We simply wouldn’t treat two guys that differently.’’
But, they did.
Harvey was shut down shortly after the All-Star break in 2013, but Wheeler continued to pitch at the end of last season despite soreness in his elbow. Alderson and manager Terry Collins even conceded Monday how Wheeler managed through the pain at the end of last year.
Alderson maintained Wheeler’s elbow was eventually going to break down, yet he was trotted out there every fifth day.
“The other thing is, when a guy is being managed, you understand what the sort of apocalyptic result could be – he blows something out,’’ Alderson said. “But the question is, what’s the alternative? If it blows out, it blows out. The alternative is that you manage somebody to the point where he’s not useful to you.’’
Which is what happened, as it has numerous times with other Mets.
When it comes to the Mets and pitching injuries, the club has a long list, including: Harvey, Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, Bobby Parnell, Dillon Gee, Johan Santana, Jenrry Mejia, Jeremy Hefner and Jon Niese.
That’s more than an entire rotation and nearly a complete staff. A common thread in these injuries have been Alderson and pitching coach Dan Warthen.
The Mets didn’t have Harvey last year, but nonetheless made a run at respectability, as in finishing .500 or better. You can’t help but wonder if the goal to be competitive forced them to push Wheeler too hard.
Questions linger about the others, although not all had Tommy John surgery. What was their training routine like? Did they throw too hard, too soon, at the start of spring training? Were they properly monitored? Did they throw too soon in the offseason? Did they throw too much between starts? What was the rest of their conditioning program like?
Alderson answered the question as to why he didn’t immediately order a MRI for Wheeler. It seemed somewhat plausible at the time, but after sleeping on it and considering the long list of ailing Mets’ pitchers under his watch, it left something to be desired.
Using “lawyerspeak,’’ Alderson defended his handling of Wheeler’s injury. There was his usual fancy language, but a sharp district attorney would nail him.
ON DECK: Mets Matters: Today’s Notebook.