If given the choice, Sandy Alderson surely would trade the Mets' slim wild-card hopes for speedy recoveries by Johan Santana and Ike Davis. But after Friday's sobering events, it looks as if the general manager will get neither, and Davis -- a building block for the Mets' future -- remains on shaky ground himself.
Before Friday's game, the Mets announced that Davis will remain on hold for another month in the hope that he eventually can avoid microfracture surgery for the bone bruise inside his left ankle. A few hours later, they felt even worse after a 4-1 loss to the Braves on Fiesta Latina Night at Citi Field.
Forgive the Mets for not being in a party mood. Wearing specially made "Los Mets" blue jerseys with bright orange lettering, they managed only four hits -- just three off Tim Hudson (11-7) in seven innings -- and scored their lone run on David Wright's RBI double in the first inning.
R.A. Dickey (5-10) was nicked for two runs in the third on Jose Constanza's RBI triple and Michael Bourn's sacrifice fly. In the eighth, Dan Uggla extended his hitting streak to 26 games with a two-run single off Ryota Igarashi as the Mets dropped to nine games behind the Braves in the wild-card standings.
It looks as if Davis will have to wait until next year, too. The first baseman has accepted that he's done for this season and Alderson said a return is "very unlikely." Now he's just trying to duck microfracture surgery with the goal of being ready for spring training.
"It ----, but I got to get healthy," Davis said. "I can't have this thing nag me for years."
The only surgical option is microfracture, and Davis and the team's medical staff agree that putting it off for as long as possible is the best option.
"Microfracture surgery might not even work," Davis said. "You don't want to go in there and do a surgery like that if it's not going to be 100 percent."
Said Alderson: "The doctors at this point are confident that if we had to go to surgery, there's enough time for us to still have him back for spring training.''
Davis and Alderson took turns holding court before Friday's game. It was Alderson who first announced that the plan for Davis is to wait another month -- with very limited activity.
"What the doctors have told us is that it's going to heal -- the question is how fast, and so I think that we have to rely on that," Alderson said.
Three weeks earlier, the plan also was to wait and decide on surgery at the end of that period. The difference this time, however, is Davis did show marginal improvement while at home in Arizona. The ankle felt so good, Davis said, that he was close to heading to Port St. Lucie before another setback.
"The thing is, it's getting better," Davis said. "Then one day, I was just doing some fielding movements and I kind of tweaked it again. The next three or four days, it hurt."
Davis was examined Friday by two foot specialists, and Alderson said the bruise looked "roughly the same" as it had three weeks ago. Davis will get another opinion Tuesday from a non-Mets physician in North Carolina, primarily to see if anything can be done to the damaged cartilage in that area.