As if getting swept in Monday's doubleheader wasn't tough enough for the Mets, the sobering news delivered Tuesday by general manager Sandy Alderson certainly wasn't the shot in the arm manager Terry Collins and his team were hoping for.
The Mets placed Mike Pelfrey and Jason Bay on the 15-day disabled list before their series opener with the Marlins, evoking memories of the injury-ravaged 2011 campaign the Mets have tried so hard to put behind them. Pelfrey was shelved with swelling in his right pitching elbow and Bay was diagnosed with a non-displaced cracked rib suffered in the nightcap Monday.
"Well, it's frustrating to lose a doubleheader one day and lose two players the next," Alderson said. "But that's part of the game and so players, Terry, the staff, we all pick ourselves up and move on. It's not unexpected in a sense."
Pelfrey, who's on the disabled list for the first time in his career, was examined by doctors at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan Tuesday, initially just as a precaution since he was intermittently sore during and after Saturday's start. Pelfrey had an MRI and that's when they found some swelling in his elbow, though they are awaiting a final diagnosis.
Alderson, who didn't rule out a ligament tear, wasn't confident Pelfrey would be back and contributing after he's eligible to come off the DL in a couple of weeks.
Pelfrey expects to get a second opinion, though he wasn't sure if he was going to visit noted specialist Dr. James Andrews. If Andrews' diagnosis is a torn ligament, that could mean season-ending Tommy John surgery for Pelfrey.
"It's possible it could be that short, but I don't think it will be," said Alderson, who added that he might seek pitching options outside the organization. "I don't want to get into too much here, but there are conservative courses of action and there are more radical courses of action.
"If you took the most conservative action in this case, you are probably talking about 2-4 weeks at least."
Pelfrey, though, was much more optimistic and seems to think he just has some tendinitis. He said he felt pain in his elbow during Saturday's start each time he warmed up, but it eventually subsided, only to return.
"Every inning, when I would throw the first pitch of the inning, I would feel something," Pelfrey said. "I would feel like a little grab and then it would stop, then I would finish the inning and I would feel great.
"Then I'd go out, the first pitch the next inning -- grab and then it would go away. That usually happens when you have some kind of tendinitis, which I thought, 'Hey, this is no big deal.' "
Bay hurt his left ribs attempting a diving catch, landing hard after the ball popped out of his glove. X-rays Monday came back negative, but further tests Tuesday revealed the injury. The timetable for his return is murky.
"Everyone reacts differently," Bay said. "The silver lining is that it's non-displaced, and the doctor said it's a fairly small crack. Hopefully, it won't take that long."
The Mets recalled lefthanded reliever Robert Carson and infielder Zach Lutz from Triple A Buffalo to replace Bay and Pelfrey. But they'll have to decide on a starter for Friday's opener against the Rockies in Colorado to take Pelfrey's spot in the rotation.
"We can't hold our heads down and worry about the things that we don't have," Collins said. "We have to worry about the things we have in place and right now, whoever it's going to be on Friday, make sure he's prepared to pitch Friday.
"We've been there before. We've done it. We saw last year we can get through this, and we will."