By Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor - Archive - Email
Same old Mets
David Wright said he plans to be in the Mets' Opening Day lineup.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - There is a popular phrase that you usually hear in New York around the NFL playoffs pertaining to a certain football team.

That saying is "same old Jets" and it's almost become a mantra for a fan base that is always waiting for the other shoe to drop even when things are seemingly going great.

You know, like when a team is coming off back-to-back AFC Championship Game appearances and then you miss the playoffs, lose faith in your young quarterback and endure one of the worst locker room implosions in some time.

You know something like that.

Same old Jets.

But, luckily for Rex Ryan's crew, the Jets don't have the snakebitten franchise market cornered in New York any longer. There's another team out there that just can't seem to get out of its own way no matter how hard they try.

Same old Mets.

Mets' Struggles
The Mets have had three straight seasons of a losing record and a fourth-place finish in the NL East:

2009 - 70-92 (.432), 23 games behind
2010 - 79-83 (.488), 18 games behind
2011 - 77-85 (.475), 25 games behind

Not much was expected from the Mets this season. Payroll is way down. Ownership is a mess thanks to the Wilpon's involvement in the Bernie Madoff scheme. One of the cornerstones of the franchise left this offseason for a division rival. All that added on top of the fact that they play in a division that already houses Philadelphia and Atlanta and will be even better this year thanks to huge additions in both Washington and Miami.

Let's face it, if the Mets are to finish .500 this year, it is going to be a monumental achievement to say the least.

So, things weren't great to start off with, but it seems as if it has been one bad thing after another this spring for a team that becomes more of a punch line as the days go on.

Following an offseason in which the Mets acted as if they were the Pittsburgh Pirates rather than a team that plays in the largest media market in the country, a judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit against the Wilpons in the Madoff matter and ruled that they must pay back at least $83 million in fictitious profits.

Even general manager Sandy Alderson poked fun at his team's financial problems with a series of tweets shortly before spring training alluding to the fact that he better be cutting his coupons and that he'd be driving down to Florida to save money.

Money troubles aside, though, the biggest problem over the past couple of seasons for the Mets has been injuries. Not just the fact that players were getting hurt, but how they got hurt, not to mention the perceived notion that the Mets' medical staff is just inept.

That was the case last season with promising first baseman Ike Davis, whose season was cut short on May 10 after what seemed to be an innocent collision with third baseman David Wright. It's the same medical staff that had players flying cross country with concussions in the past that admitted months after the Davis injury that it had made a mistake during the early stages of treatment by keeping him in a protective boot too long -- a decision that might have reduced healing blood flow to that area.

So when Davis showed up to camp this year and was immediately summoned back to New York because of something that came up in a routine physical, Mets fans feared the worst. And what was it? Nobody really knows, but the team doctors thought it could be Valley Fever, although results were negative.

Nobody knows what the problem was and probably won't until Davis goes for more tests in New York at the beginning of the season. Until then, the team has been told that the issue will resolve itself, but the team is handling him as if he has Valley Fever.

This we do know. Valley Fever has been described as "mono on steroids" and former Arizona outfielder Connor Jackson lost nearly a full year because of the disease. If we've come to expect anything from the Mets lately, it's been the worst.

"If I feel I need to take a break," Davis said, "I'll step to the side. So far, I haven't had to do that."

Speaking of Wright, or as most people will call him in July, the former Mets third baseman, he also ha been bit by the injury bug and been sidelined with a small tear in one of his left abdominal muscles.

Optimistic or not, Wright said he plans to be in the Mets' Opening Day lineup, but these are the Mets. No injury is minor, especially an abdomen, the same type of muscle tear that recently forced Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and Baltimore Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis to undergo surgery.

1B Ike Davis Valley Fever diagnosis
2B Reese Havens Lower back soreness
3B David Wright Left rib cage tightness
3B Zach Lutz Left elbow soreness
SS Ruben Tejada Left groin strain
SS Ronny Cedeno Tendinitis in both knees
OF Lucas Duda Lower back stiffness
OF Andres Torres Right glute tightness
OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis Right oblique strain
OF Scott Hairston Left oblique strain
RHP Pedro Beato Right rotator cuff infla
RHP D.J. Carrasco Twisted right ankle
LHP Tim Byrdak Left knee meniscus tear
LHP Daniel Herrera Lower back tightness
LHP Robert Carson Right oblique strain
"Everybody's frustrated," said Wright, who missed more than two months with a stress fracture in his lower back last season. "I'm frustrated. The guys who have had to miss some time are frustrated."

Again that may be a stretch, but let's face it these are the Mets. Is anyone going to be surprised in a few weeks if you hear Wright is not progressing as planned and needs surgery? Or that Davis does indeed have valley fever and will be sidelined for sometime?

It'd be a surprise if we don't hear that actually.

Finally after shortstop Ruben Tejeda came down with a groin injury on Tuesday, manager Terry Collins had had enough. Collins exploded to anyone within earshot of his mounting frustration with the injuries this spring.

"We've got three weeks from Wednesday," Collins said in reference to Opening Day. "We've got a lot of time. I'm just getting tired of going in the training room, where I've got to sweat to see who can walk out of there."

Tejeda's injury was the 15th the team has suffered over the first half of spring training, with seven of those 15 affecting core muscle groups.

But, it's not all bad in Mets-land. In typical Mets fashion, the one player who you would think would be the biggest injury concern has been the least and has given the team some sort of hope for the coming season.

Left-hander Johan Santana has been impressive in his two Grapefruit League starts. Santana, of course, hasn't pitched since the 2010 season, so just the fact that he came away unscathed is an accomplishment in itself. But, all indications are that the two-time American League Cy Young Award winner will take the ball for the team in on Opening Day.

"What I'm seeing right now is a guy who's starting to get comfortable on the mound," Collins said. "He knows what he's doing. He felt great when he came out of the game (Sunday), and those were big signs."

Even the most optimistic Mets fan, though, is just waiting for that other shoe to drop.

Same old Mets.

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