John Maine speaks out: Can we finally talk about the training staff?

According to a recent interview by the New York Times, former Mets pitcher John Maine was very up front in regards to how the Mets training staff and pitching coach Dan Warthen had handled his last injury with the ball club. Maine says,

“My shoulder was being held together with duct tape at the time. They knew everything that was going on. They all knew. It was obvious. You don’t go from throwing 94 to 84 miles per hour. They knew my condition. I was 100 percent upfront about it; I didn’t lie about it. At the time it wasn’t so much pain, I just didn’t have anything”. 

In response, Warthen called Maine “a habitual liar”. Without getting involved in the he said-he said drama that always emerges via media outlets, this does make fans wonder if it is merely an isolated incident. After all, how many times has a player had “shoulder fatigue” or a “sprained oblique” and those injuries turn into the player losing the entire season? Other teams have players that suffer these types of injuries, yet they seem to only miss the minimal time. 

What is the difference between them and the Mets? Perhaps it’s the training staff. The Mets have not had a good training staff since the early 2000′s, it seems. Perhaps John Maine has a point. Even if he is being perceived as a liar, his comments bring to light the one aspect of the organization that always seems to get a free pass, yet are in extremely important part of the team. 

If a manager had as bad of a track record as this medical staff does, that manager would have been fired at least a dozen times by now. If it was a player with that track record, they would have been cut. It begs the question, why do they get a pass? This is a time for GM Sandy Alderson and COO Jeff Wilpon to take serious consideration to this issue. 

They have several young and talented players ready or nearly ready to make a major impact for the next decade. In the hands of this medical staff, we could see a repeat of Generation K. Now is the time to reevaluate the medical staff. If the Mets will be reevaluating manager Terry Collins in the off season as to whether or not he is the right man to manage the young up and coming talent at the MLB level, why should they not then reevaluate the medical staff that will be responsible for treating these young players when they have a tweak or a pain. 

After all, the last thing the Mets can afford for their future is a sprain that turns into a tear that the staff somehow missed. Again. For the 100th time.

6 comments for “John Maine speaks out: Can we finally talk about the training staff?

  1. April 9, 2013 at 8:36 am

    For the players – they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. If they play with pain and stink, then they’re idiots (Or in this case – habitual liar) but if they say they’re injured then they’re selfish and not willing to put the team first.

    It’s up to the manager, coaches and trainers to be the adults and say – You can’t do this. Unfortunately, the Mets organization has been short on adults this century. In fact, it certainly sounds to an outsider that they push their players to minimize injuries and come back before they’re ready.

    I’d like to think that Terry Collins has enough smarts to prevent a thing like this from happening but that’s pure conjecture on my part. He continues to employ a pitching coach who threw gasoline on the John Maine fire, which has to put his judgment into question.

    Bobby Ojeda wrote a fantastic article about the things he had to do to keep pitching. He’s remembered as a hero because he was able to go out and successfully compete under these circumstances. Maine tries something similar and he’s a liar because he wasn’t able to deliver the results.

    There’s no easy answer here. Perhaps the best thing is not to have knee-jerk reactions and call someone “soft” for not playing when injured. But the flip side has to be not trashing your guy when he’s giving it everything he’s got for his teammates and the organization.

    Part of this is words versus actions. I mean, the Mets sort of did the right thing by yanking Maine in that start. They gave him the opportunity to pitch through it and when it became painfully obvious that he couldn’t they yanked him. But you don’t turn around and trash a guy who’s giving you that kind of effort.

    You just don’t.

    • April 10, 2013 at 7:48 am

      It sickened me what they said about Maine. I wish him well.

  2. Joe Vasile
    April 9, 2013 at 10:46 am

    I agree with pretty much everything Brian said above. Ever since the Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran injury debacles in 2009 and the Wright/Davis injuries in 2011, I have been very weary of the Mets’ training staff, specifically Ray Ramirez. It is absolutely time for a new staff to come in, because either the current staff is very bad at diagnosing injuries, or doesn’t do enough conditioning with the players, either way, you can’t have that.

  3. Chris F
    April 9, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Dont get me started, especially with pitchers. Warthen & co. have prevailed over a string of unreal pitching injuries, capped by 4 of the 10 reported occurrences of anterior capsule tears. I have zero confidence in him and want him and his training ides/staff as far away from our young arms as possible.

    • Metsense
      April 9, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      He also allowed a 31m investment to pitch a surprise bullpen session. Someone needed to be fired on that decision. Where would Beltran be if he took the Mets advice?

  4. JimO
    April 9, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    I am 100% in agreement with the idea of revamping the medical staff/training/conditioning etc. We cannot risk any significant injury to any of the key pieces.

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