PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Terry Collins scampered through the Mets' clubhouse Tuesday at about noon, barking orders and devouring his lunch. He stopped momentarily for a group of reporters and listened to a question about shortstop Ruben Tejada's strained left groin.
"Shocker!" the Mets manager said, his response dripping with sarcasm.
A litany of spring-training injuries prompted the Mets manager to express his frustration before the Mets' 7-1 loss to the Cardinals at Digital Domain Park, appearing to take shots at both the hurt players and the club's institutional approach to injuries.
After the game, Collins attempted some damage control, insisting that he was mad at the situation rather than any particular person or group. Yet he made it clear his escalating frustration over the club's many injuries.
"This spring so far, we've been unable to put the team on the field. We eventually have to do that," Collins said. "When I talk about patience, right now, I'm out of it."
Before the game, Collins, referring to Tejada's condition, said, "It's not serious. It doesn't have to be here. You need an aspirin, you're off for a day."
Both Tejada and his fellow middle infielder Ronny Cedeno (tendinitis, knee) reported their injuries during Tuesday's pregame workout. They joined a group that includes David Wright (left rib cage), Tim Byrdak (left knee), Scott Hairston (strained left oblique) and D.J. Carrasco (ankle).
Collins has held repeated conversations with players, the training staff and team strength and conditioning coordinator Brad Andress about this issue. He has urged his players to warm up properly and stay hydrated in what has been a hot camp. He has altered the extra hitting program, discouraging players from overdoing it.
Nevertheless, the hits to team health keep coming.
Collins took note of the Tigers, whom the Mets played Monday and will play Wednesday. "They ran their whole lineup out there [Monday] except for Ryan Raburn," Collins said. "Nobody's got a bad back. Nobody's got a bad shoulder. We do.
"As we said and I said the first day here, we've got to get out of the gate [playing well]. That's huge for us," Collins continued. "We've got to get out of the gate. And if we don't have the at-bats or the innings played or the execution side down right, we're not going to get out of the gate. That's where it gets frustrating."
Collins stressed he wasn't pointing fingers at any individual. "I'm not mad at anybody. I'm allowed to be frustrated," Collins said. "This is a team I'm trying to get ready to win. I'm sitting here in front of you telling you we're going to compete.
"But I'm going to tell you, we aren't going to compete if we don't have our players on the field. We've got to get them ready."