Marcus Stroman was optimistic Friday that he will make a speedy return from the torn muscle in his left calf, but he didn’t want to provide even a loose outline for when he might pitch again.
At separate times, Stroman referred to his injury as a “tear” — which is what the Mets have called it — and “a slight calf strain.” Those terms are not mutually exclusive, though the latter suggests a much lesser severity.
“My recovery methods are with the best of them,” Stroman said before the Mets opened their season against the Braves at Citi Field. “I do everything to make sure I’m going to be able to play this game for a very, very, very, very long time. This is not something I’m worried about, because honestly, if I had never got the MRI, I would probably still be making my start.”
The story of this injury began July 12, when a hard ground ball struck Stroman’s leg. He said his calf was “literally blown up — massive” but he didn’t think much of the ensuing soreness and tightness. During his next intrasquad outing on July 17, his calf “grabbed on me” during a play in which he covered first base, he said.
Even then, Stroman wasn’t worried. But an MRI revealed what he called a “shocking” diagnosis.
“We got an MRI as to be precautionary, honestly, just to kind of rule anything out,” he said. “It’s one of those things where you have to be mindful of the MRI [despite] how good you feel. Definitely not something you want to push before you’re ready to come back.”
Stroman referenced his quick recovery from a torn ACL in 2015 — it took him about five months, not the expected 9-12 months — in expressing confidence about this injury.
“I don’t have trouble recovering or coming back,” he said, “but this is something that needs to feel 100% before I can go back and move full speed.”
Stroman said he barely feels the calf discomfort when pitching, but he won’t join the active roster until he can do everything he needs to do — including running full speed and covering first base.
In the meantime, he will continue to throw regular bullpens, which will allow him to maintain his arm and shoulder strength while sidelined — expediting his eventual return.
“Once my tear is no longer there and it feels good,” he said, “then hit the ground running.”
Happy phone calls
Andres Gimenez, a 21-year-old top prospect, said he was “really surprised” to be included on the Mets’ Opening Day roster.
“But after that, my next reaction was to call my family to let them know and we were able to really enjoy that moment,” said Gimenez, who found out when manager Luis Rojas called him with the good news Wednesday night.
Gimenez debuted in the eighth inning, replacing Robinson Cano at second base. A natural shortstop who receives high marks for his defensive ability, Gimenez said he has been practicing at third base recently, but he has dabbled at second in the minors.
Wilson Ramos, whose start Friday was his first time catching a game in a week, declined to disclose the nature of the personal matter that caused him to miss three days later in camp. “It does not affect anything,” said Ramos, who compared it to the All-Star break...Hours before the season began, the Braves put both of their catchers — Tyler Flowers and Travis d’Arnaud — on the injured list after they experienced coronavirus symptoms, despite testing negative . . . The Mets have an all-time Opening Day record of 39-20, best in major-league history.
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