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Are the Mets exercising enough caution with injured players?

Photo credit: ernstl

The laughably ignored “Prevention and Recovery” motto of 2010 is just a distant memory, but how much has the way the Mets handle injuries really changed under Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins‘ regime?

The Mets’ biggest free agent signing of the off-season was new closer Frank Francisco, who agreed to a two-year, $12 million contract. He’s had a terrible spring, and over the past couple of days we found out that he has been bothered by a sore knee. Francisco finally went for an MRI on Monday.

Collins spoke to reporters, and had this to say about Francisco’s injury:

“It’s been bothering him all spring,” Collins said. “We thought it was getting better. He wanted to pitch through it. There were some days it didn’t bother him very much. The other day, when he threw the two innings, it stiffened up on him. The next day it was irritating him a little bit, so we had him checked and we’ll see where we are.”

I’m not a doctor or an athletic trainer, but don’t you think it would have made sense to get a sore knee checked out a bit sooner?

This isn’t up there with Ryan Church being allowed to take cross-country flights and pinch-hit in games days after suffering a concussion in 2008, or even sending Jose Reyes out to bat right-handed after he suffered an oblique injury that bothered him more when he swung from the left side of the plate in 2010… but Collins has already shown limited tolerance for injuries this spring.

On March 13th, New York Post reporter Dan Martin wrote:

Asked why [Ruben Tejada]  was scratched shortly before [March 13th]’s game [with a groin injury], a visibly irritated Collins said, “Shocker. It’s not serious. It doesn’t have to be here. You need an aspirin, you’re off for the day.”

“I’m just getting tired of going in the training room, where I’ve got to sweat to see who can walk out of there,” Collins added.

If I were a player on Collins’ team, I’d be concerned that a trip to the trainer’s room would land me in the manager’s dog house… hopefully I wouldn’t put it off to the point where I did more damage.

I’d like to think that the Mets are being more cautious with their players now then they were when Omar Minaya, Willie Randolph and Jerry Manuel were running the show, but it sure doesn’t seem like the tune has changed very much, does it?

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3 thoughts on “Are the Mets exercising enough caution with injured players?

  1. Baseball (and the other sports as well, I’d imagine) has always been like that, I’m afraid. I’m sure you’ve read “Ball Four”. All you had to do was say “my arm’s a little stiff” and you were gone. What’s worse, though, are the stories of all those pitchers and players who never made The Show because they were afraid to tell their clubs–and with good reason–that they were injured. Nothing’s changed in baseball except that there’s more money involved.

    Worse than the clubs, themselves, in my opinion, is the press. They berate, mock, and batter anyone out with an injury and praise players who “play through” them (no matter how much long term damage they may be doing to themselves).

    And its worth noting that its no different in the real world. I remember people coming to work at my old job with serious illnesses–when a day or two of rest would’ve gotten them well or better more quickly–for the justifiable fear of being fired.

    Bosses universally have short sighted mentalities. It all reminds me of the iconic, humorous headstone that reads “I told you I was sick”.


    1. I agree with you about the media, and I’m aware that it’s hardly a new problem in baseball. Leaving aside basic decency, the amount of money invested in players these days should convince organizations that it’s time to take another look at the old ways.


    2. Top to bottom, I couldn’t agree more with M.J.’s analysis. My thoughts exactly. Americans are supposed to tough it out, regardless of the cost to the individual or to the society as a whole. It’s absurd, pointless, and counterproductive, but I don’t expect it to change anytime soon, like in the next thousand years.


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