JJ Putz Kaputz

Earlier today, Mets GM Omar Minaya announced that J.J. Putz took an MRI that revealed inflammation in the back of his right elbow. Additionally, it was reported that Putz has a bone spur in that same elbow.

Per Minaya:

“He’s had this spur before, and guys sometimes play with it.”

According to Minaya, Putz does not need surgery and will get a cortisone shot, which will make him unavailable for at least the next two ballgames.

For those who forgot, last year there was another Mets pitcher who had an inflammation as well as a bone spur in his throwing arm, though it was the shoulder and not the elbow. The comments were similar though, in the early stages of the injury. Something to the effect that the pitcher could continue to throw, and would not cause any further damage. Also last year, there was a reliever with an elbow issue, but his problem was originally diagnosed as “forearm tightness”. He’s on track to return to the team in September, if all goes well.

In March, we reported concern about J.J. Putz’s velocity. Yesterday, Jerry Manuel suggested that Putz’s problem was likely due to not enough work in spring training:

“I think maybe for him, out of all the guys that the WBC might’ve hurt, it could be him,” Manuel said of Putz’s participation with Team USA during spring training. “He’s shown flashes of stuff, but he probably needed all of spring training to get right.”

(Or maybe he was damaged goods when he was acquired in December.)

More recently, we suggested that Putz might have been overused. Indeed, Putz himself admitted to feeling “fatigued” as well as “sore”.

However, Mets manager Jerry Manuel quickly dispelled such notions on WFAN yesterday. One of his direct quotes, in answer to Mike Francesa’s question, “Putz … has he been overused, is he a little sore, where is he right now?” :

“No, he’s in good shape. I don’t think anybody’s been overused. I think what happens is a lot of times, early in the season, because guys get in games, but people forget that there’s off days … you know there’s off days so they say ‘well he’s been in this many games and this many times and he’s gonna be wore’ … But there are times like we’re in now, that you don’t have off days, so those are the days that people kind of get confused on that.”

The Urban Dictionary has a fairly acceptable definition for kaputz. (Please note that you will encounter adult language by following that link.)

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. isuzudude May 14, 2009 at 9:22 pm
    It sounds like Jerry studied the same blame-deflection techniques as Barney Frank, in which, if something bad happens on his watch, it’s always somebody else’s fault. Hey Jerry, when the guy’s been used in 20 games and the season isn’t even a month and a half old yet, HE IS BEING OVERUSED! Your name is Jerry, not Jesus, so you are allowed to make and admit to mistakes. Get over yourself.

    So no Putz for the next 2 days, which may be just what the doctor ordered as he can use the rest. But much like Delgado’s hip, I’m sure this won’t be the last time we hear about Putz having to deal with pain in his elbow. Putz very well may have developed this problem while with Seattle and is something the Mets inherited as part of the offseason trade, but I still don’t blame the Mets for pulling the trigger on the deal. After all, Putz’ numbers from the last 2 months of 2008 showed he was back to his dominating form, even if there was a drop in velocity, and Putz showed at the WBC and during portions of April (when not subjected to overusage) that he can be a shutdown 8th-inning pitcher. But the saturation of work Jerry has subjected him to has definitely caused Putz to breakdown, and who knows now if he’ll be able to recover enough to give the Mets the formidable 8th/9th inning tandem they had envisioned.

    Also, word is that Reyes will miss tonight’s game with a “stiff calf.” Maybe it’s the same stiff calf that caused him not to slide into 3rd base on Castillo’s grounder yesterday, or the one that disallowed him from busting it out of the box as he admired his hit off the wall in the 12th. Whatever the case, Reyes needs/deserves the benching, and will hopefully be “healthy” again come Friday.

  2. Jason From the Burbs May 15, 2009 at 5:24 am

    I lurk around here from time to time, but I never posted. It seems like the Mets PR is just like the Dems PR – it is very annoying when most of the fanbase eats it up without asking critical questions. If you can see through Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank, you should be able to see through Omar and Jerry. We’re all Americans and we’re all Mets fans – we all want to succeed/win. But that doesn’t excuse our “leaders” for being horrible at their jobs and more concerned with spin than anything else!

    Sometimes it seems the Mets front office is running a political campaign, rather than trying to win the division. They just want to be liked.

    By the way Joe I love this blog! And MetsPolice too. Hold these bums accountable!

  3. Walnutz15 May 15, 2009 at 8:19 am
    Like so many other Met-acquisitions before him:

    Damaged Goods.

    Hopefully, the rest of the baseball world now smartens up and realizes…..this is why the Mets were able to get him so cheaply over the winter.

  4. joe May 15, 2009 at 10:17 am
    Walnutz, whaddya mean cheaply? The Mets sent six guys to Seattle and one to Cleveland for this putz. At least four of them were youngsters with the potential to be something some day according to Omar Minaya. And one of the guys traded away had a bobblehead day (Endy Chavez).

    Don’t ever say “Mets” and “cheaply” in the same sentence. This team pays through the nose repeatedly in an effort to give us a chance for meaningful games in September! Hush up and be grateful for all the wonderful things this corporation has provided you!

  5. joe May 15, 2009 at 10:24 am
    Jason – thanks for finally posting a comment. Please be more active, particularly if you plan on continuing to shower me with praise.

    And hey, this isn’t a political blog … but …. yeah, you’re right. 100%.

    And speaking of, anyone else notice similarities in the oratory styles and media management / manipulation between Jerry Manuel and Barack Obama?

  6. isuzudude May 15, 2009 at 10:46 am
    I didn’t know I’d be opening up a political can of worms with my Barney Frank comment, but now that I did I’m glad to see I’m not the only numbnut this side of MSNBC not kissing every democrat’s ass as if they were holy.

    I think Jason is so spot on it’s scary: “Sometimes it seems the Mets front office is running a political campaign, rather than trying to win the division. They just want to be liked.”

    And indeed, Joe, I do see the similarities between B.O. and Jerry. In fact, rumor has it that Jerry uses teleprompters for each of his ‘media briefings.’ Who knows what would come out of his mouth if he didn’t.

  7. mic May 15, 2009 at 10:52 am
    Its not all Jerry, in fact I will go on record and say that after a 1 year sample the differences btw Jerry and Willie are not measured in acres, but feet and inches.

    That said Jerry has not wilted ala Willie under glaring tabloid microwave heat.

    Hmm isu, need more data but rumblings about Putz and injury have been floated. But then King felix and Soriano also had similar headlines. At various points in the last 2+ yrs.

    That said, Why not Dl Delgado and Putz? I’d like to see Conor Robertson. Also what is up with Bobby? Is this a transition issue…and has he dropped his velocity again (from usage/new role?). I like this guy, especially as a bullpen asset and key to closing the book on Heath Bell and Matt Lindstrom. I’d like to see him try out Putz’s splitter.

  8. joe May 15, 2009 at 11:16 am
    Jerry has not wilted? Maybe not in front of the media, he hasn’t, but in the dugout that’s up for discussion. Let’s not forget he nearly lost his mind two weeks ago … remember, when Omir Santos was brought in from the bullpen to pinch-hit for Ramon Castro? That was a classic case of over-managing / trying to look like a genius. He knew that if it worked, he’d be lavished in the papers the next day for playing a “hunch” and/or for delaying the game and thereby psyching out Matt Lindstrom.

    If the Mets didn’t run into the AAA Pirates at just the right time, you’d be seeing a much different Manuel in those postgame conferences. He’s already been described as “testy” by a few journalists over the past few weeks.

    As for Parnell I think it’s a transition issue. He’s never before been in a situation of pitching at max velocity every other day. This is basically an experiment occurring outside the lab, and we don’t know what’s going to happen.

  9. Walnutz15 May 15, 2009 at 3:17 pm
    I should’ve utilized quotation marks, Joe.


    All we are is a Putz DL stint/Carp call-up away from this deal blowing up in our face, like a Vince Coleman firecracker.

  10. isuzudude May 15, 2009 at 3:35 pm
    I’m not sure about blowing up in our face. After all, Joe Smith has a 7.11 ERA with Cleveland and is on the DL with a rotator cuff injury, Aaron Heilman has an ERA over 5.00 with 2 losses and 2 blown saves, and there’s nothing Endy Chavez is doing that Jeremy Reed can’t if given the same amount of playing time. The jury is out on guys like Jason Vargas, Mike Carp, Ezequiel Carrera, and Michael Cleto, so it’s premature to say the deal will blow up in our face based on the prospects. Until Putz goes down for an extended period of time, or is continually getting shelled on the mound, the Mets still did well by pulling the trigger.
  11. joe May 15, 2009 at 4:00 pm
    Carp is hitting .294 with 8 HRs in 110 ABs in AAA. Vargas is pitching pretty well in his first three appearances with the Mariners, though it’s early. Heilman, actually, is pitching fairly well other than the one outing that bloated his ERA — allowing 5 runs without getting an out. I’d take him over Sean Green in a heartbeat.

    Actually, I’d take Heilman right now as the #4 starter, in lieu of $36-40M for Ollie and the Replacements.