“I don’t think it’s serious,” replied Collins.
Collins short, incomplete answer, begged a follow-up question. Moments later, it came. Was not having Bruce in the lineup a reason for concern?
“No disrespect. I’m not going to get into the injury stuff,” said Collins.
The back-and-forth was intensifying. Another reporter. Another question. Collins finally coughed it up: “I’m not at liberty to discuss any injury situation. He’ll be in there when he’s in there.”
This is presumably part of the Mets new policy on handling injuries. The newly imposed protocol was initially described as “practical changes” by Mets GM Sandy Alderson. “Whether that’s the extent of the change that we see, time will tell.”
Evidently, time has told us the injury protocol now includes a decision to withhold player injury information. Recent history reveals why Alderson is controlling the message: The Mets have a systemic problem within its medical staff.
No one person is to blame. This is an organizational weakness that has quickly spun out of control over the first two months of the 2017 season. There is a lack of communication and a deeply flawed process of injury protocol.
Since Opening Day, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Seth Lugo, Jeurys Familia, David Wright, Asdrubal Cabrera, Yoenis Cespedes, Juan Lagares, Lucas Duda, Tommy Milone, Wilmer Flores, Brandon Nimmo and Travis d’Arnaud have all spent time on the disabled list. Hamstrings, elbows, knees, biceps, obliques, wrists and other various digits and limbs are throbbing, and aching, and hyper-extended.
Alderson has inserted himself in the center of the triage unit expecting to get educated and “to provide context for the decisions that we have to make from day-to-day based on information that not only arises that day, but may have been sort of gestating over a period of days.”
The New York Post reported that Collins was “downright irate” when the Mets front office informed him that he could not discuss player injuries with the media.
Can you blame him? Injuries have been the story of the Mets season to date. Injuries have led to the Mets underperforming starting pitching, an overworked bullpen and lack of bench depth. Injuries are why the Mets are 19-25, 8 1/2 games back in third place in the National League East.
If the Mets think muzzling Collins will make the questions go away, they are sadly mistaken. Not discussing injuries will only make matters worse, not better.
Post Script: One day after this post, the New York Times published a story that included an interview with Mets GM Sandy Alderson. The story extends the conversation on this subject.
The Mets continue to back-peddle this story. Following another embarrassing loss to the Padres at Citi Field, Terry Collins tried to “clarify” his statement on discussing player injuries stating: “I get in trouble because I try to be as honest as I can with you guys and give you an honest look at things. And then if it doesn’t happen, we look like an idiot when we’re not, because there’s no guarantees.”