Timetable, Predictions for Jennry Mejia's Return from Injury

Steve SeepersaudContributor IMarch 31, 2013

The future used to be bright for Jennry Mejia, but the window of time for him to make a splash for the Mets is closing.
The future used to be bright for Jennry Mejia, but the window of time for him to make a splash for the Mets is closing.Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

While not as ravaged by injuries as their crosstown rivals, there is still plenty of pain to be found within the New York Mets’ roster. David Wright and Daniel Murphy, two of the big stars on offense, are probable for the season’s start. The prognosis is far worse on the pitching side of the equation, as one starter is likely out for the entire season, and a few pitchers won’t be healthy enough to play on Opening Day.

One of the embattled hurlers is Jennry Mejia, once regarded a top pitching prospect within the organization. At this moment in time, the sands in his hourglass look very likely to run out before too long.

Mejia hasn’t pitched since mid-March, when he was first diagnosed with forearm tendinitis. Although there is no structural damage and the injury doesn’t appear very serious, the team wasn't hesitant to shut him down.

"I feel a little pain, not much," Mejia said, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. "But sometimes a little pain turns into a lot so you don’t want to force anything. It’s better to not force anything to get ready and finish the season healthy."

Fans with a long short-term memory will recall that Mejia had the Tommy John surgery in 2011, hence the Mets’ desire to bring him back carefully from this current injury. The team’s plan is for Mejia to rest for a short time before getting into a month-long throwing program. Once he’s ready to go back in action, he’ll take the mound at Triple-A Las Vegas instead of Queens.

Adding to the drama in Mets camp, Mejia only had appeared in two games this spring and dealt with a suspected thyroid issue before his arm started to act up. The latest projection is that Mejia will be out until early May.

The window of time for Mejia, 23, to be a starter is closing. Injuries to fellow pitchers Johan Santana and Shaun Marcum provided an opportunity for Mejia to make a name for himself on the major league level. Because the Mets now have a number of young guns wanting to take a shot at the majors, Mejia could get lost in the shuffle, unless he kills it when he’s out on the mound.

He bounced around a good deal in the minors, especially in 2010 and 2012, suggesting the organization feels he shows some promise. Put another way, Mejia hasn't languished in one minor league burg. His ERA has been at its best (under 3.00) in seasons when his counts for innings pitched have been relatively low.

His stats from the scant amount of time he has pitched in the majors suggest that, in further big league action, he'd post an ERA in the mid-3.00s and average half a strikeout per inning pitched. Mejia won't be the second coming of Dwight Gooden, but the Mets are only paying him around half a million per year and, at that level, they'll get their money's worth.