Feb 09

Mets Can’t Afford To Let Matt Harvey Rush Rehab

As spring training rapidly approaches, perhaps the New York Mets’ most interesting bid of news this week, was Matt Harvey’s statements he expects to start throwing Feb. 22, a week after pitchers and catchers report.

“They said I should be able to start throwing four months after the surgery, and that’s Feb. 22,’’ Harvey said. “|And I haven’t had any setbacks. I can’t wait. Even if it’s 10 feet, I just want to pick up a ball. As if right now, I don’t see why I wouldn’t be able to do that.’’

HARVEY: Needs to not push it

HARVEY: Needs to not push it

The worry about Harvey is he’ll push the envelope. The accepted recovery time for rehab from Tommy John surgery is 12 months, which Harvey said he wants to beat.

Nonetheless, he vows not to push it.

“I completely agree that I shouldn’t come back too soon,’’ Harvey said. “I haven’t touched a baseball yet, so I don’t know how things are going to go once that happens. But if things are still progressing and it shows I’m ready to go and I get cleared, I want to be able to play.’’

There’s the rub.

The dilemma is hypothetical: What will the Mets do if they find themselves in wild-card contention in September? Will they keep him down or let him loose?

Already in his young career Harvey has tried to pitch through, and/or ignore pain. He didn’t say anything after tweaking his back and missed a start. Later, he said nothing about soreness in his forearm, which eventually led to the surgery.

Pitchers must learn to differentiate between pain and injury. Nonetheless, he must be more forthcoming in reporting pain and discomfort to the training staff. He’s not informed or trained enough to make his own diagnosis.

A pitcher’s arm is a fragile and precious thing. Harvey has a bright future and the last thing he needs to do is jeopardize it by being reckless with his health, which can be concluded by his comments about wanting to be able to pitch in September.

Regardless of where the Mets are in the standings or how well they are playing in September, Harvey should not be allowed to pitch this year. There should be no discussion or consideration about it.

The Mets have a reputation of playing fast and loose with injuries – see David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Ryan Church and Johan Santana, among others – and with their future seemingly on the upswing, don’t blow it now.

Everybody needs to be smart about this, even if it comes down to protecting Harvey from himself.

 

Nov 29

On Black Friday Where’s The Rush To Buy Mets?

Today is Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year and I wonder how many are rushing to buy Mets’ tickets?

Today is a missed opportunity for the Mets, who have done little marketing for tickets. You see something on Mets.com and SNY, but there’s not been much, or any, blitz that I can see.

imagesThere are six papers that cover the team full time, and each of them today should have an ad in the sports section. There are countless other papers – dailies and weeklies – in the tri-State area that should have a Mets’ ad today and until Christmas.

Let’s not forget the radio and TV stations.

There should be a Mets store in Grand Central, or Times Square, or in the lobby of the Marriott Marquis.

The point is the shopping season is upon us and the Mets must send out reminders they are still here. Chris Young is not much of a shout out.

Nobody will drive out to Citi Field to buy tickets. It’s just not practical. But, of the dozens of significant malls in the area, I’ve never seen a Mets kiosk to purchase tickets. If there has been, and has been significant advertising I missed, then I apologize.

But, I’ve seen nothing.

I have a few old Mets Yearbooks and they have photos of the caravans the team used to have. No longer. They cut them out and instead had an event at the New York Public Library. No more.

Why not?

Early in their existence the Mets needed the attention and sought out the buying public. Let’s face it, they are no longer the hot ticket in town and must hustle again.

Yes, it will cost them some money, and quite honestly, the $7.25 million they’ll give Young would be better spend on marketing.

Start the caravan again and bring in players past, present and future to sell their brand. Station players in the mall kiosks for free autographs.

The Mets are a brand worth keeping, but they can’t expect the public to run to them at this stage, not with them dormant in the free agent market.

The Mets, until they start winning and competing, must reach out to the pubic now like any other struggling company seeking to improve their business.

The malls will be packed today and there will be a few in a sporting goods store getting a Mets T-shirt, or cap, but nobody is rushing to buy tickets.

And, that’s a problem.

Dec 21

Don’t be in a rush to deal Flores

Sorry for the absence. I’ve been ill lately and had to shut it down for a few days. This is the longest I’ve gone without a post since I started doing this and I apologize.

But, we haven’t missed much as the Mets continue to hope the prices will drop on whatever pitching talent is left out there. By most accounts there’s not much more than $4 million remaining in the Mets’ budget, and that won’t be enough to land Brandon Webb, the best remaining arm.

The Mets are looking at Freddy Garcia (but so are the Yankees), Chris Young and Jeff Francis. Young appears to be the most likely. There are other free-agent pitchers, such as Jeremy Bonderman and Kevin Millwood, but they don’t register much on the thrill meter. Nobody outside of Webb raises your pulse.

The name I keep hearing in the trade market is Tampa Bay’s Matt Garza, which would be appealing, but the reported cost would be shortstop prospect Wilmer Flores.

Trading prospects are always risky, but unless the return is great (and Garza doesn’t rank that high), I’d be reluctant to deal Flores because of the uncertainty of what could happen with Jose Reyes. If Reyes gets off to a good start and the Mets are committed to signing him to an extension, then Flores would be expendable.

However, if the Mets opt to shop Reyes at the trade deadline, or he leaves after the season as a free agent, it would be good to have Flores in the fold. But, to deal Flores now and then lose Reyes would leave a hole I don’t think Ruben Tejada would be able to fill.

Flores is still several years away, but his value should only increase. While Garza is coming off a career year at 15-10, he’s still less than a .500 career pitcher.

Jun 14

What your confidence level in the Mets?

In a way, he’s playing just like his team.

David Wright is swinging free and easily, which is exactly how his Mets are playing as they enjoy the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame today before starting a three-game series in Cleveland.

WRIGHT: Has found his stroke.

“There doesn’t seem to be any anxiety or rush to his swing,’’ manager Jerry Manuel said of Wright, who homered twice Sunday in Baltimore. “It’s kind of like it is sitting on a tee for him.’’

Well, the Orioles were like a ball on a tee over the weekend, a team ready to be swatted, but the Indians, a team also struggling is playing better of late.

So are the Mets, who are 1½ games out of first in the National League East and a season-high seven games over .500. The Mets are playing exactly like the promised they would.

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