PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - MARCH 02: Pitcher Tim Byrdak #40 of the New York Mets poses for photos during MLB photo day on March 2, 2012 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Does anyone have Jesse Orosco's number handy?
News spread like wildfire this morning that Mets southpaw reliever Tim Byrdak will undergo surgery tomorrow to repair torn meniscus cartilage in his left knee. That's pretty much a guarantee that Byrdak, who has accrued two no-hit innings this spring in two appearances with only one walk blemishing his line, will start the 2012 season on the Disabled List.
"It was something, working out in the offseason, there was a little discomfort," Byrdak said before departing from Florida to New York. "I actually felt it when I went to sit on the couch one day. I went to put my foot underneath me and I said I really didn't feel right. But there was no injury, no pop, no sudden movement that tweaked it. It's been something kind of nagging around. I was pitching with it this whole time. It's still kind of there. I sought treatment for it and it wasn't really responding to the treatment."
The Mets simply have no viable left-handed options in the bullpen at the moment without Byrdak, who accumulated a 2-1 record and 3.82 ERA/3.16 FIP/3.39 xFIP in 72 games last season for the Mets. Rubin reiterated manager Terry Collins's sentiments that Josh Edgin could find his way to the Major League roster if Byrdak can't make it back in time, or that non-roster invitees Garrett Olson, Chuck James and Daniel Herrera could find themselves in the lefty reliever role.
Mike Gonzalez, Damaso Marte and Arthur Rhodes headline the free agent scrap heap, while Robert Carson, who pitched last season as a starter for Double-A Binghamton, is the only other left-handed pitcher on the Mets' 40-man roster that isn't presently slotted into the club's Major League starting rotation. Newsday's Ken Davidoff indicated that the Mets were impressed by C.J. Nitkowski's audition last week, which could earn him a shot at the job as well.
And in case you're in the market for salt to pour on open wounds, Mets third baseman David Wright received a cortisone shot in Manhattan on Monday with a little guidance from an ultrasound machine to treat an injured rib-cage muscle on his left side.