New York Mets Dealing with the Injury Bug Again

Jim MancariCorrespondent IMay 5, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 10:  Angel Pagan #16 of the New York Mets in action against the Washington Nationals during their game on April 10, 2011 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Shades of the 2009 Mets are already apparent this season.

Though that team was more talented on paper, it was ravaged by the injury bug which left Jerry Manuel very little to work with on a day-to-day basis.

Well, it seems that injuries already have played a role this season.

Last year's breakout player, Angel Pagan, is on the disabled list, though he will hopefully return shortly.

The Mets were forced to put their top reliever, Rule 5 draftee Pedro Beato, on the disabled list due to elbow tendinitis. That's a tough blow for Beato, who was pitching some of the best baseball of his life.

Of course, the Mets are dealing with the absence of ace Johan Santana. Though there were good reports about his progress this week, he still has a long road ahead.

Injuries are part of the game, but the Mets seem to be cursed.

In 2006, one of the NL's best setup relievers, Duaner Sanchez, was injured in a car accident that caused him to miss the remainder of the season. Would Sanchez have made the same pitch that Aaron Heilman made on the home run to Yadier Molina in the NLCS? We'll never really know, but it would have been nice to have been at full strength.

There have been few occasions over the last two seasons where the team has played completely at full strength. In a division including the Phillies, Braves and Marlins, a healthy team is the only way the Mets can compete.

The lineup is one thing, but just think if Santana were healthy.

He'd be the ace, while Mike Pelfrey would have less pressure on him as the No. 2. That would also push back R.A. Dickey and Jon Niese, with Chris Young and Chris Capuano providing rotation depth.

Pelfrey would still have to go out and compete even if Santana was there, but he probably would have benefited from Santana's calming presence.

Once Pagan comes back, the team will have the makings of a contender, assuming everyone performs to their potential. The Mets have dug themselves a hole early, but nothing that can't be overcome.

The days of seeing both Willie Harris and Scott Hairston in the same lineup should hopefully be over soon.

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