New York Mets Midseason Report- The Injury Bug

Sergio ValdezContributor IIJune 24, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19:  Carlos Beltran #15 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers defeated the Mets 5-3.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

The Mets entered this year with high expectations. They signed Francisco Rodriguez and trading for J.J Putz to bolster a dismal bullpen. They blew about 30 saves in 2008, and are a main reason for the Mets collapses the last 2 years.

Many thought they should improve their offense, but G.M Omar Minaya didn't feel the need to make any drastic changes to a potent lineup.

Now here we are in late June  and the Mets find themselves only 2 games out of the NL east. Granted the East has been very weak this year, the Mets can't just keep treading water right now.

They have lost 9 players to the DL. They have currently on the DL, Beltran Delgado, Reyes, Maine, R. Martinez, Pagan, Perez, Putz, and Wagner. Most of these players are vital to this team if they want to win anything this year.

You can say that all teams go through injuries, but the Mets have 3 of their 4 core position players on the DL and 4 important pitchers, as well as 2 solid bench players.

Through all of this and only 2 out of 1st place? The Phillies have had their share of injuries, but not as big as the Mets. They currently have Condrey, Ibanez, Lidge, and Myers all on the DL. Ibanez was the MVP of the team until he went down with a groin injury earlier this month. They also lost their closer and a solid arm in the pen and rotation.

However the Phillies expect to have both Lidge and Myers sometime in the next week or two.

The Mets won't have their full line-up at least until August. Reyes isn't due back until the all star break, Delgado is out until August, and so is Putz. Maine though, is expected back by the weekend. Perez is still down in the minors trying to recover from his knee and, in the process, trying to pull himself together on the mound.

Wagner, who missed the 2nd half of 2008, is trying to come back by at least august if not earlier. He would be a great addition to the bullpen for the Mets.

Right now they only have one great player in David Wright, while everyone else are triple A players or bench players. Some have done a great job filling in, while others have struggled. 

Gary Sheffield has been a great pick-up playing left field and Alex Cora has done a fine job filling in for the shortstop Jose Reyes. Omir Santos also did a great job when Brian Schneider was on the DL and forced the Mets to keep him on the roster and they traded Ramon Castro to the Chicago White Sox to make room on the roster.

Not all players managed to fill in for their injured teammates. Daniel Murphy and Fernando Tatis were suppose to fill in for the injured Delgado, but Tatis and Murphy both have struggled to even match Delgado's production at first base.

Tatis has been a double play machine, grounding into more than 8 of them this year. Murphy has been struggling both offensively and defensively. His defense in the outfield has been atrocious and was moved to first base, where he has been less of a defensive liability there.

Offensively he has been struggling. He is hitting around .250 and has been in a slump since early May. This was after a great start to the season. In the bullpen after Putz went down, Bobby Parnell took over his old role as the set-up man. The results weren't good as he has struggled in the role since the change.

Pedro Feliciano and Brian Stokes have taken that role in the pen so they could give Parnell a break. They have done a good job in their roles, but everyone else has been struggling.

In the rotation, Perez and Maine are both on the DL. Maine is expected back sometime soon and Perez return is known for sure. Tim Redding and Fernando Nieve replaced the two vacated spots and  have done an excellent job in that role.

Redding suffered an injury during the spring and managed to come back in May just as Perez was placed on the DL. Last week Maine went on the DL with arm problems and Fernando Nieve has done an excellent job filling in the rotation.

In 2 starts and one relief appearence since he was called up, Nieve has won 2 games and has a 1.84 in 14.2 innings pitched. Granted he has pitched less than 15 innings, so far he has looked impressive against 2 great hitting teams.

John Maine is expected to return sometime this week and when he does, either Redding or Nieve have to go over to the bullpen. So far both have looked great and will each get one more start to see if they can keep their jobs.

Maine's return would greatly help the Mets who need all the pitching they can get with their almost all their regular position players on the DL.

Wright, Castillo, Church, Murphy, and Schneider are the only healthy players who started the first game in Cincinnati April, 6.

With half their team on the disabled list, the Mets need their pitching to come through for them and keep this team in games on a regular basis for another month.

The pitching needs to carry the team at least until they get some of their regular position players back.

This team has hung in there despite all the injuries, but they need to hang in there until they get their players back if they want to keep in contention in 2009.