“At least you have your health,” that’s what people in the USA say when the going gets tough.
Unfortunately, the Mets, currently residing in the southern USA, could not have said that.
Brian Schneider, Carlos Delgado, Damion Easley, Marlon Anderson, Jose Valentin, Ruben Gotay, Luis Castillo, Moises Alou, Endy Chavez, Carlos, Beltran, Ryan Church, Orlando Hernandez and Duaner Sanchez have all been without their health for at least part of spring training.
“Time heals all wounds.”
This phrase is usually used more figuratively than literally, but the literal is of more import to the Mets than the figurative. Yes, figuratively, the Mets need to hope the wounds of their September 2007 collapse need to be healed before Opening Day, but the literal wounds of their disabled need to be healed before any figurative healing occurs.
The good news is that Schneider returned to action Saturday and hit a home run.
Easley and Valentin both returned to action this weekend, sharing some time at first base. Delgado claims his bum hip is better and may see some time at DH or first base during the beginning of this week.
Marlon Anderson also rejoined the lineup this weekend, joining some of the younger players on the road.
Endy Chavez started in centerfield on Saturday, collecting a hit and scoring a run.
Carlos Beltran says he is ready to go and Willie Randolph will have to decide whether he want Beltran to take the field on his surgically cleaned-out knees, or ease into things by DHing.
Ryan Church also returned to the lineup on Saturday, hitting the ball hard and moving around well in right field.
Duaner Sanchez worked a scoreless inning of relief this weekend. How soon Sanchez makes his next appearance will be a good indication of whether or not he will join the Mets in April.
Even Orlando Hernandez is reporting that he is ready to go, having worked in the bullpen on his new mechanics to ease the pain on his bunion. El Duque has his sights set on the fifth starter’s role and nothing less.
Unfortunately, there is not much news floating about regarding the health of Luis Castillo. And in this case, one can not say: No news is good news.
Even Moises Alou, already disabled-list bound, is getting ready to rehab from his hernia. He has some exercise bike riding on the horizon.
The good news on Ruben Gotay is that his ankle is not broken, but there is no timetable for his return. Assuming Easley and Anderson continue to be healthy, Gotay could see himself added to the disabled list or see an end to his days as a Met.
In non-health related news, Johan Santana and John Maine have been getting stringer with each spring appearance and appear set to anchor the rotation.
Oliver Perez has not looked sharp and Mike Pelfrey had a setback this weekend, giving up seven runs in his latest start.
Pedro Martinez has not faced opposing hitters yet, but remains on schedule to be the number two man behind Santana.
Billy Wagner, Aaron Heilman and Pedro Feliciano have all been strong and are ready to reprise their roles in the bullpen from last season.
Right-handers Jorge Sosa, Carlos Muniz, Brian, Stokes, Matt Wise, Nate Field, Joselo Diaz and Nelson Figueroa have all been solid and will compete for bullpen spots.
Joe Smith, Ruddy Lugo, and Steven Register have had some bumps in the road and have been the less impressive amongst the right-handers over the past week.
Lefty Scott Schoeneweis has an impressive 1.80 ERA, but allowed three inherited runners to score on Saturday. Another lefty, Willie Collazo had a rough first outing but has since shown some improvement.
Ramon Castro, Jose Reyes and David Wright have been the few healthy major league position players.
Angel Pagan is tops amongst all NL position players in hits this spring. His steady play along with Alou’s injury have helped his case for a major league roster spot.
The question remains as to whether or not Omar Minaya will bring in another right-handed bat to replace Alou and serve as a compliment to Church and Delgado. Olmedo Saenz has hit well this week and even made a diving stop at first base on Saturday to save a run.The team. The injuries. The questions. The Mets.