With the Mets mired in a tailspin that effectively could snuff out their season before it can get off the ground, general manager Sandy Alderson offered a progress report on various fronts Friday, ranging from renewed scrutiny of the team’s injury protocols to the mental state of embattled righthander Matt Harvey.
“We’re obviously not where we’d like to be,” Alderson said before the series opener against the Angels. “We’ve lost seven in a row. We had a losing streak earlier this season and came back nicely from that. I expect we’ll bounce back from this one as well.”
Despite an offense that he described as “decent and fairly consistent,” Alderson tied the Mets’ chances of a turnaround to improvement from a starting rotation that has suffered from a combination of injury and underperformance.
At the start of the day, the Mets’ rotation ranked second to last in the National League with a 5.13 ERA. Even more troublesome has been a consistent inability to pitch deep into games, which has taxed the bullpen.
“I don’t subscribe to the notion that the injuries have put us where we are,” Alderson said. “I think there’s a contributing factor there. But there are many players we have on the roster who I’m sure if you ask would say, ‘Gee, I expect a little more from myself.’ So I think that explains a good deal of where we are as well.”
Harvey has been among those who have struggled, though Alderson said he has seen encouraging physical signs in the righthander’s first two starts after a three-game suspension for failing to show up for a game.
“We have to get him mentally and emotionally back to that same kind of place,” Alderson said. “I think the last start in Arizona is a step in that direction. We can dissect his starts, but I think the last two have been headed in the right direction.”
Though prospects Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith have enjoyed strong seasons with Triple-A Las Vegas, Alderson said neither is a candidate to be promoted in the short term, especially given that pitching has been the primary culprit behind the team’s struggles.
“There are no current plans to promote either one of them — unless one of them can pitch — at which point we might reconsider,” Alderson said. “We don’t see that as a panacea. We don’t see it necessarily as the right time in the overall sense of where we are and who we have.”
As for injuries, Alderson avoided making declarations about potential return dates but said pitchers Seth Lugo and Steven Matz remain on track. Both are expected back early next month.
Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is making “good progress” from his hamstring strain and catcher Travis d’Arnaud hasn’t had any setbacks as he works back from a bone bruise in his right wrist.
Said Alderson: “We want to make sure that we’re not cutting any corners and that they’re ready to go when they come back.”
Injury management has remained a hot topic. On that front, Alderson said he has added daily meetings with the training staff as part of an effort to re-evaluate medical procedures.
“We have made some practical changes,” he said. “Whether that’s the extent of the changes that we see, time will tell. Some of the other things we might consider might require more in the way of investigation and research. That sometimes takes a little time.”