Posted on: June 4, 2009 10:59 pm

Calling Out the Mets' Medical Staff.

Over the past several years, the Mets' medical staff has made some interesting, if not downright foolish decisions.  Not only have these decisions led to confusion among Mets fans, I believe they have potentially jeopadized the careers of some players.  In 2005, Braden Looper, who was quite effective in 2004 in his first year as closer for a mediocre Mets team, performed poorly, especially late in the season.  He ended up being booed off the mound in his final appearances as a Met before being shut down for the season with about a month to go.  It was "susbequently determined" that Looper pitched the entire season with bone chips in his pitching arm that required off season surgery.  Looper indicated that he knew he was injured the whole time but continued to pitch because he felt the Mets had no one else to turn to as a closer.  How could this injury not have been detected by the Mets' medical staff? Looper was lucky because he recovered 100% and was an effective set-up man for the Cardinals in 2006 before being turned into a starter for the Cardinals in '07 and is now doing a decent job in the Brewers rotation. 

In 2008, after Ryan Church suffered his second concussion in two months in a nasty collision at second base against the Braves, his status was left up in the air for 1-2 weeks and he was even allowed to pinch hit a couple of times before finally going on the disabled list.  It turns out that Church's symptoms were quite severe and he missed THREE MONTHS due to recurring headaches from post-concussion syndrome.  After he returned in August, Church was not the same player who had gotten off to such a hot start that he was considered by many to be the Mets' MVP for the first two months of 2008.

Fast forward to today:  It is revealed that Jose B. Reyes has a torn hamstring, which could lead to a prolonged absence from the lineup.  Although being termed a "slight tear" by Mets spokespeople, the coming days will determine how "slight" the injury really is.  Reyes is currently on the 15-day disabled list, but has already missed 2 1/2 weeks from an injury that was originally termed "day-to-day." Again, it took the Mets a week to make the decision to disable a player.

So, what exactly is going on here?  Are the inmates running the asylum? To translate into baseball terms, are the players running the show by saying they feel okay and the medical staff is just going along with it?  I'm all for toughing it out, but when an injury is debilitating enough that a player is nowhere near peak capacity or could risk further injury the Medical staff, team management and yes, the manager must make the decision to remove them from the lineup and ensure they are receiving medical treatment that is appropriate to their condition.

Is the medical staff asleep at the switch- or should I say behind the stethoscope?  I believe the Mets organization owes an explanation to its loyal and increasingly confused fan base.
Category: MLB
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