A beleaguered bullpen absorbed a brutal body blowon Tuesday that may determine its short-and-long term future.
The Mets placed left-handed reliever Tim Byrdak on the 15-day DL Monday with a torn anterior capsule in his throwing shoulder. It is unknown if Byrdak will undergo season-ending surgery, but if he does, it is a process the Mets are familiar with as Johan Santana and Chris Young each underwent the procedure and needed a full year to recuperate from.
“I tried to call Tim—Tim Byrdak—today after I got the news about how bad his shoulder is. Certainly feel terrible for him. He’s done nothing in the last two years except take the baseball and get big outs for us. I just hope he comes out of it okay and he can resume pitching,” Terry Collins said in his pre-game press conference Tuesday afternoon at Citi Field prior to the start of the three-game series against the Marlins.
Byrdak pitched in 128 games the last two seasons for the Mets and allowed 31 earned runs in 68 1/3 innings. This year, the lefty specialist had yielded just 15 earned runs in 30 2/3 innings.
“Injuries are caused by overuse,” Collins said. “Doctors have told me, ‘When they’re going to break, they’re going to break.’ It was just the fact that he was in the role that he had to go out there a lot. We probably used him more than we should have.”
As the Mets lose one pitcher, they may be close to having another return as Santana threw three innings in the Brooklyn Cyclones’ 8-0 loss to the Auburn Doubledays (Washington Nationals’ Single-A short-season affiliate) Sunday afternoon. He allowed a hit and a walk while striking out three.
Santana was placed on the 15-day DL on July 21 with what the Mets reported was a sprained right ankle following back-to-back-to-back losses in which he was roughed up for 13 earned runs in 12 2/3 innings by the Cubs, Braves and Dodgers.
“It was good,” Santana said. “Feeling good, feeling 100 percent. Got my ankle some rest and, at the same time, my whole body.”
The Mets called up left-hander Garrett Olson from Triple-A Buffalo before the game.
Reyes returns to Citi
Who misses Jose Reyes?
Not the Mets. Not with the way Ruben Tejada has played this season.
“Around here we worry about our team and Jose is no longer on our team,” Collins said. “Our shortstop has played pretty [well]. We’re very, very fortunate that he’s had the kind of year he’s had. Had he not, I’m sure there would have been a lot of people trying to draw comparisons or concerned that we didn’t re-sign Jose. Fortunately, Ruben has played as well as he has.”
In his first year as the everyday shortstop, Tejada is hitting .323 and has a .368 on-base percentage. By comparison, Reyes has a .288 batting average and a .351 on-base percentage.
“He accepts who he is; he doesn’t try to do more,” Collins said of Tejada. “His ceiling, offensively, is out of sight. He’s a good hitter and I think he’s going to learn to hit some balls out of the ballpark as he continues to develop.
“He’s a very valuable piece to the puzzle here.”
Follow Mets beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.