In another era, Jose Reyes might have been benched after his misadventures on the basepaths earlier this week. But while Jerry Manuel did not bench the sensitive Reyes, it's an intereresting coincidence that Reyes, who never misses a game, suddenly came up with an injury that kept him out of the lineup last night.
I'm not enough of a conspiracy theorist to think it was anything other than a coincidence that the Mets also set a team record for stolen bases with seven with Reyes out of the lineup, though Manuel did seem quite pleased to mention that fact after the game.
ESPN's Jayson Stark recently wrote about the suspicious use of the disabled list for players such as Oliver Perez and Chien-Ming Wang. I hope something similar has happened with Reyes, because it would be great for Manuel to send him a message. And it would be a lot better than if Reyes actually were injured.
It was disappointing to hear J.J. Putz say the other day that he was having trouble pitching the eighth inning because he did not have the same adrenaline that he had as a closer. Billy Wagner used to make the same sort of excuses about non-save situations.
The role of closer is the only one in baseball in which players can get away with this sort of nonsense. Imagine if a Met position player said that he did not do as well at the plate in the early innings because he had more adrenaline in late-inning pressure situations. (Actually, until recently, it would be hard to imagine a Met batter saying that - it's good to see them starting to come through in those situations.)
Bobby Parnell took over Putz' eighth-inning role and blew the lead. Maybe Putz will start to appreciate that the setup role is also very valuable and challenging.
Or maybe Putz was hiding an injury, now that it has been announced that he has elbow problems. If only this injury were a phantom one - complaining about the eighth inning seems minor by comparison.
Putz has also pitched in 19 of the Mets' first 34 games.
The Met announcers call Pedro Feliciano "Perpetual Pedro" because he seems to pitch or warm up every day, but Putz has the same number of appearances as Feliciano - they have both been in 19 of the Mets' 34 games. And Putz has pitched 20 innings to Feliciano's 14 2/3.
Maybe another use of phantom injuries could be to prevent Manuel from burning out his bullpen and turning them into real injuries.
On a related note, it was great to see Manuel allow John Maine to throw 118 pitches and not come out until there were two outs in the seventh. That's the way to start easing stress on the pen.
If only Carlos Delgado had a phantom injury and not a hip that could require surgery. If it turns out that both Delgado and Putz are out for any length of time, the Mets may regret including 22-year-old first baseman Mike Carp in the Putz deal. Carp is hitting well in the minors and could be called up soon by Seattle.