And It Begins – Lucas Duda Cannot Swing

For sure, the first man down in Port St. Lucie wouldn’t be for at least another week, right? But no, even before the first official workout commenced, the Mets lost starting first baseman Lucas Duda.

The scene is so eerily familiar to Mets fans — it’s reported that a player has a minor injury and will be out of action “for only a day or two.” A few days later, the report is updated, and that player will be out for at least a week. In a week’s time, we find out it will be a month.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Hey, it’s really, really early in the spring. Again, the Mets first full-squad workout was today, and their first spring game isn’t until March 4th. So there’s plenty of time for Lucas Duda to heal from his oblique strain and be ready for Opening Day in April.

Or is there?

Remember when Angel Pagan “strained his oblique” while fouling off a pitch in April 2011? This was his quote:

“I don’t think it’s as bad as last year,” he said. “Hopefully, it will only take a few days and I can be back for the team and start playing well.”


Pagan’s injury turned out to be not a strained oblique but a busted rib — something that wasn’t discovered UNTIL JUNE, and only after missing a month on the DL. Oh, and only after undergoing an MRI.

But surely, the Mets learned something from that situation and now take x-rays right away as a precautionary measure whenever a player complains of pain in his side. Right?

For those old enough to remember, there was a rash of oblique injuries in Flushing in 2010 (a.k.a., “Before Alderson”). Pagan and Jose Reyes played through the oblique issues (until Reyes finally hit the DL in late August) and Rod Barajas went down in late July of that year.

Here’s the good news: the Mets medical staff probably remembers previous oblique issues, and keeping Duda out of action right now is the most cautious and responsible route. There’s no rush, so keep the lumber out of Lucas’ hands for now.

Meanwhile, there are dozens of completely healthy Mets in camp to watch and discuss.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. ! Scottie February 26, 2015 at 7:48 pm
    Cuddyer to first and platoon Mayberry and Neuwenheis in right? that would probably work.
  2. DaveSchneck February 26, 2015 at 10:46 pm
    I over did it blogging hot stove all winter, my oblique is worn out, so I won’t be posting again for week, or so.
  3. norme February 27, 2015 at 12:32 am
    Did somebody say Wally Pipp?
  4. argonbunnies February 28, 2015 at 1:36 am
    This will not be the last oblique/side/intercostal injury of the spring. Apparently even guru Mike Barwis can’t stop the trend of the modern player, whose strength exceeds his flexibility.

    On the plus side, this one happened early, so there might be time to let it heal and still be ready in April, as long as it isn’t aggravated by premature use (which is admittedly a long shot with the Mets).

    On the down side, it’s our hard-swinging power hitter. The Mets could live with Lagares nursing a sore side and not being his best at the plate, but Duda? Not so much. Suddenly the lineup looks a lot less formidable.

  5. argonbunnies February 28, 2015 at 3:16 pm
    I liked this exchange from when ESPN was in Mets camp:

    Matt Harvey:
    “I have a goal out there and it’s
    to absolutely dominate the game. Not just win the game. Y’know, obviously you can’t control that, you can’t control things that you can’t-
    But if I can go out there, and I know once I’m done and I’m
    sitting on the bench, I know I dominated that game, and I made somebody unhappy-”

    Curt Schilling:
    “That’s what you work for.”

    Matt Harvey:
    “Oh yeah. That’s-”

    Curt Schilling:
    “That’s what I try to tell people. I always- As I got older, I pitched for that 30 minutes after it, after I just
    abused someone.
    Because, y’know, your team, y- People you care about
    are proud of you.”

    Matt Harvey:
    “Oh yeah. Oh yeah.”