They're No Supermen: New York Mets Replace Medical Staff With Cast from "Scrubs"

Lou CappettaAnalyst IIAugust 25, 2009

NEW YORK - AUGUST 20:  Johan Santana #57 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch against the Atlanta Braves on August 20, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Enough is enough.

As if watching Jeff Francouer get injured making a diving catch, witnessing the Mets lose a game on an unassisted triple play, and ultimately losing three out of four games to the Phillies this weekend wasn't enough, word came out of Citi Field yesterday that the Johan Santana would miss his scheduled Tuesday start.

The reason?  You guessed it, a possible injury.

As it turned out, Santana would have his elbow checked out on Tuesday, and the results were not very good.  Santana will undergo arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips from his left elbow.

In other words, Johan Santana is done for the remainder of the season.

The circle of injured Mets superstars is now complete, as Johan joins the likes of David Wright, Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, John Maine, and JJ Putz on the disabled list.  With the exception of Francisco Rodriguez, every key player to the Mets' success is now out of the lineup.

Santana won't be missing much.  The Mets are a terrible team right now, playing out a meaningless final six weeks of the baseball season with a lineup that looks like it was picked out of the stands.  It truly is a lost season in Queens, so if Santana is injured, even if it's just a hangnail, having him sit the rest of the year is the right move.

But Santana's injury does bring another question.  One that may have needed to be asked a long time ago.

What the hell is wrong with the Mets medical and training staff?

Since last season, the Mets medical and training staff has been atrocious.  Numerous players have gone down with injuries and many of those injuries have gone misdiagnosed or have been seriously downplayed, usually resulting in the worsening of the injury, longer absence for the player, or both.

Take a look at these few examples since 2008.


Ryan Church, 2008: Ryan Church suffered a concussion in spring training in 2008, and then another in a colision on May 20 that same year.  It was originally diagnosed as a mild concussion and Church was almost immediately cleared to play, resting for four games before playing in four of the next five, and even flying with the team shortly after the injury, which can exacerbate existing pressure on the brain. 

Church would wind up on the disabled list four separate times with symptoms relating to postconcussion syndrome before the All-Star break even arrived, and ultimately only played in only 67 games the entire 2008 season.


Carlos Delgado, 2009: Delgado got off to a good start in 2009, but has only played in 26 games in 2009 due to a hip injury that has had a new diagnosis what seems like every week.  First, it was hip soreness, then inflammation, then a bone spur, then an impingement with a bone spur, and finally, for good measure, the doctors threw in a torn labrum, too. 

The injury was worse than the team initially thought, and Delgado originally tried to play through the pain because team doctors stated that he could not make it worse by playing.  Delgado went on the disabled list on May 17.  He has yet to return to the field.


Jose Reyes, 2009: Jose Reyes sat on the Mets bench for four games, beginning on May 22, because his original diagnosis of an inflamed right calf only called for a few days rest.  Less than a week later, the diagnosis was changed to tendinitis in his right calf and Reyes was put on the 15-day disabled list.

Finally, only after Reyes was unable to complete a rehab game, was it revealed thet Reyes had a small tear in his right hamstring.  It's unclear whether the tear was misdiagnosed, or if Reyes further injured his leg while rehabbing.  All that is certain is that Reyes has yet to return.


JJ Putz, 2009: Remember the injury that ended John Maine's 2008 season abruptly?  Well, that injury is very similar to the one that JJ Putz suffered.  This time, the diagnosis was correct—inflammation and a bone spur in his pitching elbow—but the injury was still mishandled.

Putz was originally told he could pitch through the injury, so he did, albeit terribly and in pain.  This caused the bone spur to break off into fragments in his elbow.

Even worse, Putz told Mets officials he felt sharp pain in a Wednesday bullpen session, and then was brought into a Thursday game before being sent to see doctors that Friday.  He also has yet to return.


Carlos Beltran, 2009: Beltran played in only 62 games in 2009, and most of them were played in pain.

Originally diagnosed with a bone bruise in his right knee, Beltran continued to play because of the Mets injury woes.  Eventually, the "bruise" got so bad that Beltran placed on the DL on June 23.

The bruise has yet to heal, as Beltran has been on crutches, given orthotics, and put on plasma therapy.  The big blow, however, was when a report surfaced that Beltran had went to Colorado to visit Dr. Richard Steadman, the doctor who invented microfracture surgery.

No word yet if Beltran would need the surgery, but not only does it require a minimum of four months recovery, it may very well end Beltran's career, much like it did the careers of former Knicks players Penny Hardaway and Alan Houston.


Now, we have Johan being ushered to the disabled list and missing the end of the season, seemingly out of nowhere.

Or, is it out of nowhere?  Remember just prior to the season, when Johan was having elbow pain, but decided to rehab and pitch through it? 

Could he have been fighting this all year, much like many of the other aforementioned players, trying to help his team until the pain was too great?  Hopefully not, but think of haw many times Johan's velocity was down, or when it seemed like he may have been suffering from a dead arm.  He has had a few more subpar outings than normal this season, and now this.  Let's hope it's not more of the same.

With all the changes that need to be made for 2010—and there are plenty of them—maybe Manuel and Minaya are not the biggest problem in Queens