Slow Start for Kelvim Escobar

In a shocking turn of events, Mets reliever Kelvim Escobar has suffered a setback in his recovery from shoulder problems — to the point where he is expected to begin the season on the disabled list.

It is stunning news, considering that Escobar proved he was completely capable of picking up, gripping, and softly tossing a baseball only a week ago. But he felt some “weakness” and has been shut down from throwing activities.

Per The New York Times:

Escobar, who is experiencing weakness and discomfort in his right shoulder, is not even playing catch on flat ground. The plan is to start again on Monday and then see what happens. That means he will almost certainly not be ready for opening day.

Hmm … if he’s “not even playing catch on flat ground” does that mean he’s playing catch …. underground?

In all seriousness, this is really bad news for Omar Minaya, who rolled the dice on Escobar. Truth is, it wasn’t a bad idea to gamble on Escobar for only $1.25M. The bad idea, was to COUNT on Escobar to fill a significant role in the bullpen.

From John Harper’s column in the Daily News:

According to one baseball executive who spoke with GM Omar Minaya about it, the Mets were immediately penciling Escobar in as a key to their bullpen, and only a couple of weeks ago Johan Santana was praising him as an important addition to the club, saying that his toughness would help set the right tone for a comeback season.

Santana’s statement was partially right — Escobar has set the tone for the season.

Harper also noted that Japanese import Ryota Igarashi — the next reliever in line for the setup role — “was less than impressive, unable to control his splitter, his signature pitch” in a bullpen session on Saturday. Certainly not good news, but it’s still early; sometimes people have bad days. Though, I am mildly concerned that Igarashi will have trouble adjusting to the size of the baseball.

With Carlos Beltran and Kelvim Escobar missing Opening Day, Francisco Rodriguez suffering from pink eye, and Jose Reyes being questioned by the FBI, the spring has not exactly gone off to the best start. However, there must be a light at the end of the tunnel — things can only get better from here, right?

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.