David Wright – on the shelf for a week and a half – was in New York, getting cortisone for his sore ribs. Tim Byrdak found out he has a torn meniscus and is having surgery as we speak. Lucas Duda started the day off nursing a sore low back. Scott Hairston hasn’t swung a bat yet, due to straining the same oblique that destroyed his 2011. In fact, it seems like half the team has barking obliques. The bullpen catcher, Eric Langill, flipped his Honda on the way home from team-building bowling night on Sunday, tried to leave and spent the night in the hoosegow on a DUI charge. As my friend Jason Fry would say, “oh man…THIS TEAM…” I might go for more colorful language, but that’s just me. Seemingly, it just never gets easy.
But there’s something about this franchise…it just won’t die, y’know? Every time we think the negativity will swallow the whole works, pockets of good news and hope spring out of the muck. Johan Santana had most of his old bite and velocity in his second spring start over the weekend. Now he’s working on his command – unsurprising after but two starts in March. It also appears he’s showing few ill effects from his surgery and rehab, keeping his regular throwing/bullpen/BP schedule, presumably right on up to opening day. Ike Davis looks as if he’s never heard of dented shin or valley fever. Duda returned and stung a grand slam to give the Mets a short-lived lead in yesterday’s game. There’s help on the way to replace Byrdak, with Josh Edgin opening more than a few eyes and C.J. Nitkowski about to be signed as lefty specialists. In fact, Edgin seems perfect for this team: ready to escape the eighth yesterday, he got Andy Dirks to sky one off the plate. Catcher Rob Johnson couldn’t handle it, though and on the next pitch, Dirks delivered the tying double in the eventual 7-7 stalemate with Detroit. So Edgin’s luck is running quite Metsian already. Jordany Valdespin is starting to play like everyone – himself more than anybody – thinks he can. It’s possible he could run and bravado his way onto the 25-man roster going north. A long shot on a team full of long shots. And of course there’s always the mantra “Harvey/Familia/Wheeler/Mejia…Harvey/Familia/Wheeler/Mejia…”
No matter the fondest hopes among fans in Miami, Philadelphia or the Bronx, this team is still here and hanging on to stay relevant. Bring on summer!