The spirit surrounding the Mets camp remains energized, but it’s hard not to wonder about the injury bug, As in…Oh, no, not again…
The Mets third baseman to be, Todd Frazier is not 23 – he’s 33, and he knows he needs to ease his way up to full speed, so he’s in the lineup on opening day. All indications are he was following team protocol, as well as his common sense when disaster struck in the Mets camp with Frazier being returned to New York for a cortisone shot to relieve what is said to be a left oblique muscle injury.
It would add insult to injury (pun intended) to point out that Todd Frazier did not spend one day on any team’s DL List – until he became a member of the New York Mets last year when he was limited to 115 games.
There is no projection as to when Frazier will be ready to return to action, but these obliques are known to be somewhat balky, and the hard thing to do is not rushing back too soon, causing aggravation and more time lost.
The news about Frazier comes only one day after the Mets received their first medical blow of the season when Jed Lowrie, who will be 35 in April, was diagnosed with a “capsule strain” in his left knee. The injury could sideline the switch hitter through Opening Day, forcing him to start the year on the disabled list.
If so, the Mets are left without a third baseman to begin the season. Which, in turn, means manager Mickey Callaway gets to make his first impression of a soft shoe dance even before the season starts.
McNeil is giving his best impression of John Fogerty, telling anyone who will listen, “Put me in coach, I’m ready to play.” Which is what we have come to expect from McNeil, who no doubt sleeps with his bat.
In past years, there would already be an eruption in the newspaper media and the Blowhard at “The Fan,” charging that the dysfunctional Mets are at it again, with calls to fire all team doctors, while giving Mr. Met his two-week notice.
Or, we might be talking about the Met’s Book Of Injury Horror Stories such as when Noah Syndergaard refused an MRI, insisted on pitching, and subsequently landed on the DL. Or, maybe how the Mets didn’t call out Yoesnis Cespedes for his penchant to play golf in the morning only to sit out that night’s game with some this or that ailment.
In the 2019 version of Spring Training, we’ve seen the Mets employing a “take charge” program regarding surgeries which took place during the offseason. Travis d’Arnaud is being coddled in this way by the Mets and we are not hearing any barking from the player. This, in contrast to last year when Michael Conforto was allowed to rush back from shoulder surgery, only to have the first half of his season spent “catching up”, before he burst out to close the season.
But the truth is it’s just the way the ole ball bounces in this game sometimes. Those who see everything in their rearview mirror will roar in revelry, “See, I told you these guys were too old.”
Except that a week ago we didn’t hear a peep from them, and Brodie Van Wagenen was being lauded for bringing one of those much-needed balancing pieces to the Mets that every Championship Team always has.
A full month remains before Opening Day. This is more than enough time for Van Wagenen to search for and find more infield depth if needed.
In the meantime, we take these things as they come in baseball. No team is without injuries. Success or failure depends on the ability of a team to compensate for them.
Last year was marked by the inability, or seeming desire at times to do that. Now, with this early pre-test, we get a glimpse into whether or not the Mets are made of different stock for the 2019 season.