Jason Vargas was merely running in between starts last Wednesday when he sustained a strained calf that placed him on the disabled list and continued a frustrating season for the 35-year old lefthander.
The injury scratched Vargas from Sunday’s scheduled start against the Dodgers and was the second freak injury for the Mets starter, who in March fractured his right hand trying to catch a line drive in a minor league game.
Vargas signed a two-year, $16 million contract with the Mets after going 18-11 with the Royals last season. He’s 2-6 with an 8.60 ERA this season. His broken hand delayed his first start until April 28.
“I’m not necessarily frustrated about the things that have happened as far as with the hand or the calf,” Vargas said Sunday. “Being a competitor, you get more frustrated with gaining traction, and really knowing that you’re going out there giving other teammates an opportunity to win. Those are the most frustrating things for players, and for myself as well, are not the things that happen because you play the game, but your ability to really be a person they can count on.
“I was out running, just doing my usual running after I threw. Right at the end I wanted to do a sprint, my calf grabbed me pretty good. I tested it out [Saturday] but it didn’t really respond. About the best thing to do is not take the chance of throwing or doing something [if] you get to cover the base.’’
Asked if he expects to miss more than one start, Vargas said, “I hope not. I’m hoping that we’re making the right decision, that way we’re able to get back to business as usual.’’
With Vargas not available, the Mets used seven pitchers over 11 innings in an 8-7 loss to the Dodgers.
Bonilla’s most wonderful time of the year
Long-retired outfielder Bobby Bonilla is due his annual check of $1.19 million from the Mets by July 1. The pay day is part of the $5.9 million deferred portion of his contract that was agreed to by both sides after the 1999 season. Bonilla, 55, will receive the once-a-year payments until 2035 for a total, including interest, of nearly $30 million. Bonilla’s career ended in 2001 after five games with the Cardinals.