(Long Island, NY) Besides suffering their first three-game losing streak of the season, the Mets lost more than a ballgame on Wednesday night at Shea Stadium. The 4-2 setback to the Philadelphia Phillies was troublesome enough. But when you factor in that Endy Chavez, the fourth outfielder who has been a starter due to injuries, pulled up lame during the turning point in the game.
With the Mets down by a run and the bases loaded with one out in the seventh inning, Chavez hit a ground ball up the middle that Philadelphia shortstop Jimmy Rollins turned a 6-6-3 double play on. Chavez pulled his left hamstring running down the line and had to be removed from the game and was replaced by rookie Carlos Gomez.
Earlier this week, all three outfield starters from the Opening Day line-up were out. Centerfielder Carlos Beltran returned last night after sitting out three straight games with a bruised right knee. Leftfielder Moises Alou strained his left quad on May 12 and rightfielder Shawn Green fractured a bone in his right foot on May 25. Both have been on the disabled list.
In their place, Chavez has been the first one off the bench. David Newhan, who is hitting under .200 on the season, was forced into a starting role and has been exposed. Gomez looks to have a future, but is in need of more seasoning in the minor leagues. Ben Johnson, an offseason acquisition from the San Diego Padres, was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans at the end of May and has barely hit over .100.
One may ask when the Mets are going to give Lastings Milledge another chance. Even if they felt he was ready, Milledge himself is out with an injured foot and is rehabbing in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The 22 year-old
has made off-the-field news recently by releasing a rap song with lyrics that Mets’ general manager Omar Minaya did not find fitting for the organization.
What is the short-term answer? Minaya should be manning the phones trying to swing a deal for a decent back-up veteran outfielder. Although a hot rumor has the Mets looking to deal for Carlos Zambrano, the Cubs’ ace righthander, they should also look to include someone such as Jacque Jones, who was rumored to be on the move during spring training.
With Green, 34, and Alou, who will turn 41 next month, Minaya needs to get someone who will be available during times such as this. Injuries are a part of the game, but with players that are already nicked up, you need to leave yourself a safety net. Beltran is the youngest of the trio, but he has had injury problems in his Met tenure and is not known as a fast healer.