By Joe Rini
With a bounty of young pitchers that brings to mind past harvests that yielded hurlers like Seaver, Koosman, and Gooden, the current crop of young Mets arms named Harvey, deGrom, and Syndergaard, has given fans of the Amazins legitimate hope for their first playoff appearance since 2006. Yet, in a sad irony, David Wright, the player who too often was the only cause for hope for the Mets in recent years, sits on the sidelines injured and he isn’t coming back soon.
After being sidelined with a hamstring injury just 11 games into the season on April 14, Wright was subsequently diagnosed with spinal stenosis. This condition is a narrowing of the spaces in spine, causing pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. Pain in the back and legs is associated with it.
Wright met with the media on June 2 in San Diego prior to the Mets game against the Padres to discuss his prognosis. Wright, who has been treated by noted back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins in Los Angeles, said, “I am going to therapy seven days a week and seeing the doctor once a week to go over the progress. There is no set plan. You go to the doctor every Monday and go over the progress.” While the Mets All-Star expressed hope that he’d be back “sooner rather than later,” general manager Sandy Alderson acknowledged, “We are not waiting on the edge of our seats for David to come back,” though he also added, “We are not looking for his replacement.”
While the Mets remain in contention for first place with the Washington Nationals and Reuben Tejada has hit well lately while playing third base, a healthy David Wright is key for the long-term health of the 2015 Mets.
While the Mets cope with a spotty offense while Wright rehabs, solid starting pitching has kept the Mets upright in the standings. Noah Syndergaard had a game for the scrapbook on May 27 against the Phillies when he pitched 7 plus innings of shutout ball and went 3 for 3 with a homerun to pick up his second win in four starts. Speaking of Syndergaard, I asked the Mets manager Terry Collins before Friday’s game about how a young player should handle success and he said, “You can get humbled in this game real fast” and the veteran pitchers would help him “keep his feet on the ground solidly” and “they will tell him get ready for your next start…yesterday is over.”
A more exciting Mets team has brought excitement to the ballpark as well. Comedian Jim Breuer threw out the first pitch on Friday night to promote his comedy special on EPIX and when I asked him if he was a Mets fan, he answered, “Diehard” and proceeded to announce the roster of the 1973 team. Also in attendance on Friday was the recently crowned NCAA tennis champion and Ossining native Jamie Loeb. Seeded number seven in the field of 64, Loeb, a junior at the University of North Carolina majoring in sports administration, triumphed over the number two seed in three sets on May 25 to capture the title. When I asked what it was like to train with John McEnroe, she smiled and said he is “intense” and is the same person you see in public. Ms. Loeb hopes to turn pro someday and perhaps we’ll see her across Citi Field at Arthur Ashe Stadium competing in the U.S. Open before long.
After splitting the first two games against the Padres, the Mets enter play on June 3, ½ game behind the first place Nationals at 29-24 and in the middle of a seven game road trip to San Diego and Arizona before returning to New York on June 9.