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Ugh, or: El Duque Injured Again?

At his blog for Newsday, David Lennon reports that Orlando Hernandez was sent to New York for examination after complaining of some stiffness in his neck and upper back. The Mets are saying that the exam is simply precautionary, but it's not a good sign that a 40-year-old (?) pitcher whom the Mets are counting on to be a rock in the #2 rotation slot is being carted off to the big city barely a week into spring training.

MINI-UPDATE [9:43am]: John Delcos is also reporting this on his blog at the Journal News, ditto Adam Rubin at the Daily News and Mark Hale at the New York Post. Omar Minaya has characterized the trip as "preventative".

MINI-UPDATE #2 [10:30am]: Adam Rubin has an audio clip featuring Omar Minaya talking about Duque's injury. John Delcos elaborates in print:

GM Omar Minaya said Orlando Hernandez complained of similar pain last year, but it didn’t force him from the rotation. Hernandez said this resurfaced a couple of days ago after throwing BP.

Minaya chose to get the exam out of the way now rather than shut him down for a couple of days and then do an exam. If the Mets have to close him down for any length of time, it is better to know it now.

Minaya said he’s not concerned, but I’m not buying. There are already enough questions in the Mets’ rotation. We knew health would be an issue. Just not this early.

Well, it's certainly not good news. There's always sufficient posturing whenever there is even an inkling that a star(ish) player might be injured. I'm sure that if the Mets thought it were serious they wouldn't say so now anyway, and the truth may be that they simply have no idea yet. An old man complaining of creakiness in his neck is hardly noteworthy, though I'm sure we'll know more in a couple of days.