The New York Mets were quick to paint a rosy picture when it came to the broken bone in the catching hand of Kevin Plawecki. Plawecki, who suffered the injury after being hit by a pitch in Miami on April 11th, was given a timetable of 3-4 weeks for a return from the disabled list. It is now two and a half weeks since the injury and Plawecki has made some progress, as Matt Ehalt of The Record reports that he has started throwing again. The problem is that Plawecki still can’t catch due to the slow recovery of the broken bone in his left hand.
The fact that Plawecki still can’t catch this long after the injury means his return will likely be delayed. Even if Plawecki is able to catch in about a week or so, he will still need to go on a minor league rehab assignment to shake off some of the rust from his absence. This means that Plawecki will almost certainly be out longer than the Mets’ initial timetable and could miss up to six weeks total with the injury.
This is bad news for the Mets, who have gotten virtually nothing from the catcher position since Plawecki and Travis d’Arnaud went down on the same day. The combination of Jose Lobaton and Tomas Nido is batting just .127 (6 for 47) with three extra base hits and three RBI’s (all of those by Lobaton) over the past two weeks, creating an enormous hole at the bottom of the Mets’ lineup. This has also impacted Mickey Callaway’s ability to manage late game situations since he has often been forced to pinch hit for his catchers in big spots, burning more position players than he needs to in order to try and get production at the plate.
While it is too early to expect a trade, Mets’ General Manager Sandy Alderson deserves some criticism for not signing a veteran free agent to a minor league deal to provide some insurance at the position. There are several capable major leaguers out there, such as Carlos Ruiz and Geovany Soto, who could have been playing in the minor leagues for the past two weeks to get into game shape in case Nido and Lobaton couldn’t hack it. Instead, Alderson ignored them and signed career minor leaguer Johnny Monell to give the Triple-A Las Vegas 51’s a starting catcher. The Mets are now stuck in no man’s land at the position, and that is entirely Alderson’s fault.