With the Mets’ Opening Day roster set, let’s take a look at who’s starting the season on the DL and when we can expect them to join the team.
Juan Lagares, strained oblique
Lagares strained his oblique muscle during a spring training game on March 25. The obliques are located on sides of your trunk that help protect the spine and allow the trunk rotate. Trunk rotation is crucial during a baseball swing or fielding a ball as it allows the player to follow through on the swing and stabilize the spine during the swing/throw. With adequate core stability to protect the spine, power and weight can be shifted appropriately from head to toe or left to right (vice versa) to complete the desired motion.
Strains are graded I-III based on severity (least to most severe) and mean that there is a tear in the muscle and/or tendon (the piece that connects muscles to bones). Grade I strains typically take about 3-4 weeks for successful recovery and return to sport while grade II usually is a 6-8 week recovery process. A grade III means that the muscle is completely torn and requires an extended period of to recovery (usually due to a surgical intervention).
Since we don’t know the severity of the Lagares’s oblique strain, a timetable cannot be given. However, positive reports have been made after his recent MRI suggesting a grade I strain and a possible return in mid-to-late April.
Brandon Nimmo, strained hamstring
Speaking of strains, Nimmo suffered a grade I hamstring strain during the World Baseball Classic on March 18. Originally planned to be ready for Opening Day, several reports have indicated that Nimmo experienced a setback during recovery. It is not unusual for setbacks to occur during rehab for hamstrings because they are instrumental during running. How big of a setback remains unclear, but assuming it is minor, Nimmo should be able to return mid-April. Here is an article I wrote back in 2015 when David Wright experienced a hamstring strain and I delved a little further into the injury.
David Wright, shoulder impingement
David Wright was shut down early in spring training as he experienced shoulder pain when he resumed throwing a baseball after several months off. He was diagnosed with shoulder impingement, when the scapula (shoulder blade) pinches down the on bursa and/or muscle(s) the travel from the shoulder blade to the humerus (arm bone). It is rather an everyday diagnosis that is not serious by any means, but Wright has to relearn the mechanics of throwing a baseball after undergoing a fusion in his neck and history of stenosis. He is not scheduled to throw for another two weeks, but the total timetable to treat shoulder impingement is about 6-to-8 weeks, likely pushing Wright’s season debut to May. Here is the article I wrote last season when Steven Matz had the same diagnosis last season—before being shut down for the rest of the season due to a bone spur in his elbow—and I explained the injury a little more.
Steven Matz, elbow tenderness and PRP injection
Matz was experiencing some elbow tenderness and received a PRP (platelet rich plasma) injection last week. He is shut down for the next three weeks before starting the rehab process and making his season debut. I’ll have a full write up about PRP injections soon, but Matz will be out probably until May.
Seth Lugo, elbow inflammation
Lugo pitched lights out for Team Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic however has been sidelined recently due to arm fatigue. With normal rest and adequate recovery, Lugo should be fine. But it will be interesting how the Mets handle him should the bullpen falter early in the season.
Potential Lingering Issues
Lucas Duda, back
While seemingly healthy during spring training, Duda has been plagued with back issues for the past few seasons. From back strains to stress fractures, Duda is the player I’m concerned about the most from a recurring injury standpoint (outside of David Wright, obviously). Once a back has been injured, it is very tough to keep the spine healthy due to additional stability and strength that is required from other muscles and parts of the spine/body (again, see David Wright). It is not a coincidence that Duda and Wright consistently have recurring injuries as the spine is very tough to treat and remain healthy for anyone, let alone a baseball player enduring through the stresses of playing a full baseball season.