Mike Pelfrey's sense of humor wasn't damaged Saturday when he was drilled on the right elbow by Gerardo Parra's line drive, but assistant trainer Mike Herbst probably didn't think what he had to say was all that funny.
Head trainer Ray Ramirez, along with Terry Collins, refused to let Pelfrey even throw a warm-up pitch after getting nailed. Instead, they removed him after a lengthy conversation on the mound. When asked about the Mets' bad luck with warm-up pitches, Pelfrey made reference to that terrible incident in 2009, when Jonathon Niese tore his right hamstring tendon completely off the bone -- and crumpled to the ground after Herbst let him try a warm-up pitch.
Niese actually suffered the injury as he rushed to cover first base in that Aug. 5 game against the Cardinals, but he looked fine until trying a pitch from the stretch. He immediately collapsed, grabbed at the back of his right leg and had to helped off the field with his arms around both trainers. He was in so much pain, Niese had to be medicated, and had surgery soon after to repair the leg.
Knowing that, Ramirez would not give Pelfrey the green light to try a pitch on Saturday.
"I told Ray to send Mike Herbst out there," Pelfrey said. "I know he let Jon Niese get that warm-up pitch. Send out Herbst next time and I can talk him into it. But Ray wouldn't let me do it."
Collins wasn't even with the Mets in 2009 to see the Niese injury firsthand, but he clearly knew it would be a mistake to let Pelfrey try to throw.
"Obviously you just can't jeopardize this guy's career to have him see if he can throw warm-up pitches," Collins said.