MIAMI — When the Mets placed Robert Gsellman on the disabled list on Wednesday with a strained left hamstring, he became the sixth starting pitcher, from the team’s seven-man spring training depth chart, to end up there. Overall, the Mets already have put 16 players on the DL and they’re still four games short of the season’s midway point.
As far as the front office is concerned, however, this is not a Mets-specific issue but a game-wide trend. That, and maybe some bad luck. In other words, don’t expect any sweeping changes to their training staff or strength and conditioning staff, the latter piloted by fitness guru Mike Barwis.
“We have a lot of confidence in our guys,” assistant general manager John Ricco said before last night’s game against the Marlins. “They’re as good a group as there is.”
The team’s ever-expanding DL might suggest otherwise. Or at the very least, indicate a few adjustments may need to be made to their training philosophy. Ricco is correct in his assertion that the rotation’s injuries are not all the same, but there are some similarities as far as “soft-tissue” problems, like Noah Syndergaard’s lat muscle strain and the Gsellman hamstring problem. Maybe the personal fitness regimens in those areas could be more closely examined, such as hydration and sleep, but Ricco suggested that players had to handle that themselves, guided by the team educating them.
“This isn’t a problem that’s unique to the Mets,” Ricco said. “If you look around the league, there’s an epidemic of injuries.”
Ricco also defended Barwis, who runs his own training gym out of the Mets’ spring-training facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida, by citing the positive physical transformations of both Wilmer Flores and first-base prospect Dom Smith. As for Ron Darling’s criticism during Tuesday night’s SNY broadcast of how baseball players are conditioned, with an unhealthy focus on muscle-building, Ricco didn’t fire back. Even though Darling made it clear he wasn’t singling out the Mets, it was widely perceived that way, and that’s how the question was posed to Ricco.
“When injuries happen, people get frustrated,” Ricco said. “Fans, the front office, people around the team. I can only speak for myself, but I understand the frustration.”
n Careful with Conforto
Speaking of banged-up players, Michael Conforto’s bruised left hand again kept him out of the lineup as the Mets want to make sure he’s healed enough to prevent any compensation injuries before using him in a game . . . Zack Wheeler (biceps tendinitis) is scheduled to throw a side session today that will help the Mets pick a day, possibly during the weekend, to insert him back into the rotation.