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.

 

May 01

Today’s Question: What Will MRI Bring?

Today’s question is what we’ve all been wondering for the past 24 hours: What are wthe results of Noah Syndergaard’s MRI taken this morning in New York?

Will the results give the Mets cause for a sigh of relief, or force them to ease their grip on the rope to their season or let go of it entirely?

SYNDERGAARD: Gets crucial MRI today. (AP)

SYNDERGAARD: Gets crucial MRI today. (AP)

The Mets should get the results today, and if they are bad, count on them getting a second opinion. That’s not to be confused with second-guessing; of which there will be a lot.

By Syndergaard, for turning down an MRI last week. By GM Sandy Alderson, for not being the adult in the room and insisting upon it. By manager Terry Collins, for not pulling him Sunday in the first, if not refusing to start him in the first place.

I don’t care how Syndergaard felt when he threw in the bullpen. The bottom line is he already missed a start; he’s a pitcher who’ll never refuse the ball; and, Collins and Alderson should use their years of experience to protect the pitcher and perhaps their season.

The Mets stopped a potentially devastating losing streak by winning their first two games against the Nationals, but may have given back that momentum in foolish fashion.

Unless an MRI tells us differently.

Apr 30

Mets Wrap: Duda Not Ready

Whatever the Mets say regarding injuries, always take the over. Always. So, when the Mets suggested Monday as a possible return date for Lucas Duda (hyperextended left elbow), you knew that wasn’t going to happen.

DUDA: Nothing to cheer about. (AP)

DUDA: Nothing to cheer about. (AP)

After complaining of discomfort in trying to make a full extension, the Mets pushed back his return date to undecided.

In the interim, T.J. Rivera will continue to play first base. Should Duda be out for a significant period, it might force the Mets’ to reconsider bringing up prospect Dominic Smith from Triple-A Vegas.

Meanwhile, Duda’s normal back-up, Wilmer Flores, began his rehab assignment at Port St. Lucie. Since it is apparent the Mets have no inkling to have Flores as anything other than a reserve, they might as well bring up Smith.

PLAWECKI PITCHES: Manager Terry Collins raised the white flag in today’s 23-5 mauling to the Nationals when he brought in reserve catcher Kevin Plawecki after Matt Wieters’ three-run homer in the seventh off Josh Smoker.

Plawecki set the Nationals down in order on three flyouts to the wall.

However, Bryce Harper homered to lead off the eighth inning. Adam Lind added a two-run homer and Anthony Rendon also homered. For Rendon, it was his third homer of the game to give him ten RBI.

MOVING REYES: Jose Reyes was moved up to second in the order and played shortstop while Asdrubal Cabrera had the day off.

Reyes looks more comfortable playing shortstop, and with Cabrera bothered by hamstring issues, perhaps flipping them might be the way to go. Then, again Reyes committed a run-producing error in the seventh, so, who knows?

EXTRA INNINGS: The Mets’ bullpen gave up 18 runs in 7.2 innings, but four of those were charged to Plawecki, followed by Sean Gilmartin (five), Fernando Salas (three) and Smoker (six). … Curtis Granderson finished April hitting .128 with six RBI.

UP NEXT: The Mets visit Atlanta’s new stadium for the start of a three-game series Monday with Robert Gsellman going against Julio Teheran.

Apr 30

Plenty Of Blame To Go Around In Syndergaard Fiasco

“MRI? MRI? I don’t need no stinkin’ MRI.” – Noah Syndergaard

As I wrote this morning, Noah Syndergaard’s refusal to take an MRI on his sore right arm – biceps tendinitis was the initial diagnosis – smacked of stupidity and arrogance, from both the pitcher and management.

As for Syndergaard, I get it, you think of yourself as the fictional superhero the media and fans label you and there’s the desire to show how tough you are. However, save it for Game 7 of the World Series, not Game 24 in April, when your team’s season and arguably your career, could be on the line.

SYNDERGAARD: Walks away, wheels turning. (AP)

SYNDERGAARD: Walks away, wheels turning. (AP)

Long before Syndergaard and the Mets were torched 23-5 by the Nationals today, it has been a bad week for the ace, who was first scratched with what was called a “tired arm’’ Wednesday and upgraded to biceps tendinitis the following day, one in which he ripped into a club official in the clubhouse and was subsequently called out in the press.

Finally, there was Syndergaard’s refusal to get an MRI, saying at the time: “I think I know my body best. I’m pretty in tune with my body, and that’s exactly why I refused to take the MRI.”

So, Noah, what’s your body telling you now as you head to New York for the MRI tomorrow morning you refused?

Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters it is a “possible lat strain, which may or may not be related to his original problem … we’ll know more after he’s examined.”

While the biceps and lat aren’t physically connected, even so, why push it? There was no mistaking everything about Syndergaard’s performance today was not right. Yes, he threw 100 mph., early, but his command was off and he gave up five runs in the first inning.

Then, it looked as if Syndergaard sensed something wasn’t right and muscled up on his pitches as to throw harder in the second. When he reached under his armpit after throwing a strike to Bryce Harper with one out, you knew the second-guess wheels were spinning. And, not just from Syndergaard.

Alderson, who defiantly said, “I can’t strap him down and throw him in the tube,” after Syndergaard brushed back the MRI the way he would a hitter crowding the plate. Alderson didn’t address whether he should have insisted Syndergaard get the MRI or prohibited from pitching until he did. He also didn’t revisit the issue with his pitcher.

“We didn’t get into that,” Alderson said. “I didn’t think it was necessary at that particular time. He understands something is going on now.”

As for Collins, considering what Syndergaard has physically been going through, it had to be apparent to him the pitcher he wasn’t right in the first.

Collins had to make the decision to pull Syndergaard early if not give him the ball in the first place.

Nobody is blameless in this.

ON DECK LATER TODAY: Mets Wrap: Duda not ready.

Apr 29

Mets Wrap: Bullpen Saves Mets; Injury Updates

With the exception of one pitch – Addison Reed’s room service fastball to Ryan Zimmerman – the Mets’ bullpen pitched large in today’s 5-3 victory over the Nationals. The headliner, of course, was Jeurys Familia, less than 24 hours after he was pulled from a save opportunity last night, put down the Nationals in order this afternoon.

FAMILIA CELEBRATES WITH RIVERA (AP)

FAMILIA CELEBRATES WITH RIVERA (AP)

Manager Terry Collins vowed Familia was still his closer, didn’t have anybody warming up in the ninth.

“It is very important for a lot of reasons,” Collins said of Familia’s first save of the season. “We’re excited to get him on the right track.”

The parade to Familia started with two outs in the fifth when Collins pulled starter Zack Wheeler, and for the second straight game brought in Josh Edgin to shut down one of the Nationals’ lefty sluggers.

Today he got Daniel Murphy on a fly to right with a runner on third. Edgin ended Friday’s game with the bases loaded by getting Bryce Harper on 1-2-3 double play.

Collins said Edgin’s slider has been biting.

“Confidence is big in this game and he believes he can get people out,” Collins said.

WHEELER LABORS: It wasn’t a strong start for Wheeler, and that could be one of the best things to happen for him.

Wheeler gave up two runs on five hits with four walks and four strikeouts. That’s a lot of activity over 96 pitches.

“His pitch count is one thing, but he was in trouble for the whole game,” Collins said. “He had to battle all game long and I think that’s good for hm. You have to show you can go out there and compete when you don’t have your best stuff.”

The Nationals were 2-for-11 with RISP and stranded eight runners, with six put on by Wheeler, who kept the game in the balance.

“I wasn’t my best today,” Wheeler said. “I fell behind and threw a lot of pitches, but I made some pitches when I had to.”

INJURY UPDATES: Falling under the “I’ll Believe It When I See It,” category, the Mets have positive reports on Lucas Duda and Yoenis Cespedes.

GM Sandy Alderson seemed optimistic Duda (hyperextended elbow) can come off the disabled list when he’s eligible Monday. T.J. Rivera will continue to play first base until Duda is available.

Meanwhile, the Mets say Cespedes could be ready May 8, which is highly optimistic considering how he looked when he was re-injured.

Alderson said an ultrasound didn’t show significant damage and called the injury mild.

As I’ve always said, when it comes to Mets’ statements on injuries, bet the over.

Meanwhile, pitcher Steven Matz and Seth Lugo – both on the DL with elbow injuries – were scheduled to throw off the slope of the mound today. Their return dates are for late May.

In addition, Travis d’Arnaud left the game when his back stiffened up and will not play Sunday.

ANOTHER RIVERA: Rivera is making the most of his opportunity. He had three hits Friday and two more today, and will stay in the lineup.

The minor league batting champion is hitting and is worthy of more playing time, even if it takes playing time from Jose Reyes (.173) and Neil Walker (.205).

The Mets have won two straight, but their offense has been relatively anemic the last two weeks.

HOT REYES: In danger of losing his job a week ago, Reyes is slowly finding his offensive groove, but not to the point where the Mets should move him back to the leadoff spot – especially with Michael Conforto as hot as he is.

In his last five games, Reyes is hitting .444 with a .525 on-base percentage, two stolen bases and two homers, including one for an insurance run in the ninth today.

Even so, Reyes is still below .200.

For as cold as they were, the after winning two straight, Collins shouldn’t monkey with what is working.

“Jose is starting to play like we know he can do offensively,” Collins said. “Him getting on base is how we’re going to win games.”

Reyes will start at shortstop tomorrow to give Asdrubal Cabrera a day off.

TOMORROW’S GAME: The Mets go for the sweep Sunday behind Noah Syndergaard.