Why the New York Mets' Injured Players Should Not Rush Back

Joe FiorelloCorrespondent IAugust 4, 2009

NEW YORK - JUNE 19:  Carlos Beltran #15 of the New York Mets celebrates in the dugout after scoring in the eigth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on June 19, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

We all know the long list of Mets players on the disabled list this season. 

Most of them have been there for quite some time, and there have been rumors swirling around about possible returns at different times all season.

Mid- to late August seems to be the most recent time table for the returns of guys like Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes, J.J. Putz, John Maine, and Billy Wagner.

But here’s why I think the injured players that may be rushing back should not: It’s time for the Mets' management to make a responsible decision and shut them down before they hurt themselves any further.

The Mets are currently a paltry 50-55.  With all the teams involved in the Wild Card race, the Mets will likely need to win 90 games to make the postseason.

That means they’d need to go 40-17 through the remaining games to make it. Even if everyone I listed above came back today, I doubt the Mets would be able to string together a stretch like that.

Beltran, Reyes, and Maine, in particular, have injuries that either surgery or more rest will heal correctly. Rushing back from these injuries for a losing cause (the 2009 season) is a foolish decision that might worsen their physical situations.

Beltran’s knee bruise hasn’t improved, so he should reconsider the micro-fracture surgery that was discussed when he first went out. I know there’s a huge risk involved with the surgery, but his injury has shown no improvement to date and has an approximately eight-month recovery time.

If he has the surgery now, and all goes well, he’ll be able to start baseball activities again by next April. If he waits and needs the surgery down the line, he may miss the better part of two seasons.

Reyes’ recovery has suffered from setback after setback. He’s obviously not ready to return, but he is trying to hurry back to remedy the dire situation that’s going on in Flushing. He should take the rest of the season off, rest his leg, and come back at full strength next year.

Maine’s shoulder fatigue somehow has not gotten any better, even though an MRI recently showed he had no structural damage. The best medicine for "fatigue" is rest, so let Maine get his rest and get ready to pitch next season and beyond, because he is obviously in the long-term plans for this team’s future.

Delgado, Wagner, and Putz are all coming back from surgeries, and all seem to be progressing well. These are three guys that I feel could and should make an effort to come back, but not before they’re ready.

Delgado will be auditioning for a spot on next year’s roster. Wagner will be auditioning for other major league teams to show he’s not washed up and worthy of a contract next year. Putz needs to rebuild his confidence, as well as raise his possible trade value, as I have a feeling he might not be back next season.

It’s time to think about the future of the franchise and the well being of the players that make up this franchise. In some cases, like Beltran’s, their careers could be in jeopardy. And since this season is a wash, returning this season should be a low priority.

Unfortunately, for the fans, this is the type of season where these discussions come up at the beginning of August. It’s been a tough one to watch, and it’s only going to get worse.