The New York Mets who aren’t hurt are sick – a flu that raced through the team and the visiting Marlins. And the ones who aren’t sick might have been made so by the continuing struggles of J.J. Putz.
Angel Pagan started hopping after Hanley Ramirez’s fourth-inning double, and quickly exited with what the Mets cheerfully described as “right groin discomfort” (perhaps a subject for a different blog). He was declared “day to day.”
Of course he was. He was a Met position player who attempted to use two limbs at the same time.
Pagan is only on the roster because of Carlos Delgado’s injury, and was only in the lineup because of Carlos Beltran’s stomach flu. This is his third notable injury in two years in a New York uniform, quite an accomplishment for a guy who was only playing in his 43rd game over that span. Jeremy Reed replaced Pagan, and Fernando Tatis remained available. Ron Swoboda was also in the house at Citifield if it came to that.
John Maine exited after a brief bit of stunting in the top of the 7th. Like Beltran, and Saturday’s Florida starter Josh Johnson, he began to get the icks in the bottom of the 6th, but not quickly enough for the Mets to get up the bullpen. So Maine sucked it up and came out to the mound in the 7th, tied his shoe, and signaled to the dugout. That gave Jerry Manuel the right to bring Pedro Feliciano in with an infinite number of warmups.
He might’ve tried that with Putz, whose season looks acceptable on paper, but whose stats (1-3, 3.81 ERA, 2 Saves, 10 Holds) hide a worried fear. The Met hierarchy continues to wonder if he isn’t hurt. Entering with a three-zip lead. A walk, two hits, and the inevitable Ramirez first-pitch RBI single off Bobby Parnell, and Putz had given back two-thirds of the lead. The action on his breaking pitches seems to be less than last year before his elbow problems, and his strikeout to walk ratio is now a scary 19:18 (it was 104:13 in 2006; 356:122 lifetime).
Putz exited to booing and an unspoken question that seems to be racing towards Met management: when will they have to start breaking in Parnell as, at minimum, Putz’s co-equal as a bridge to Francisco Rodriguez?
On the other hand, 20-year old Fernando Martinez is beginning to make converts. His 8th inning RBI double opened up a 1-0 game, and while his manager said pre-game that he could not currently call him a “good” defensive outfielder, another part of Manuel’s response – about the team having to bear with him as he grows – suggested Martinez remains in position to claim the rightfield job even when Ryan Church returns.