We don’t mean to pile on the Mets. Honest. But for a team that’s not contending for a playoff spot, playing in a city with a team that’s all but assured of one, they’ve had a lot go down this season. Some of it, of course, has just been bad luck, while some has been their own doing. The news yesterday that Johan Santana is the latest injured Amazin’ is probably a little bit of both.
Officially, the Mets aren’t speculating about the severity of Santana’s elbow injury, saying only that he’ll miss his next start. But Jerry Manual is “terribly concerned,” and for what it’s worth, amateur orthopedic surgeon Jeff Francoeur (who’s injured now, too, by the way) anticipates Santana will require surgery. But this elbow pain isn’t new; he’s apparently been experiencing discomfort since before the All-Star break. It’s unbelievable that the Mets — who, if they were being honest with themselves, have been out of it since approximately that time — would allow their franchise pitcher to take the mound for more than a month with an injury, even just the beginnings of one.
This isn’t Santana taking the ball with the season on the line in September. He wouldn’t be accused of being soft, and even if he was, who cares? These games don’t really mean anything, and his long-term health is far more important than anything that can happen this season — save, perhaps, for Filip Bondy’s dream of the elusive Mets no-hitter. The only good that could have come from Santana pitching was not having to admit another star player was hurt. Now they have to do that anyway, perhaps after it’s too late.