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By Ed Coleman
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When the hard comebacker off the bat of Carlos Beltran (of course it was him) smashed off the right elbow of Mets pitcher Jeremy Hefner on Tuesday afternoon, you just had to laugh — to keep from crying. This Mets team has already been through enough adversity, yet the injuries just keep on coming and mounting. Earlier on Tuesday, we learned that another starting pitcher (Hefner was already filling in for the ailing Johan Santana) — Shaun Marcum — would not make his scheduled Thursday start due to neck discomfort, and would likely begin the season at the very least on the shortened disabled list. Marcum’s neck problems were in addition to the previously existing shoulder impingement, for which he had received a cortisone shot. Does this stuff ever end? Apparently not.
Hefner ended up with a contusion after X-rays were taken and is day to day. For now, anyway, he is slated to be the fourth pitcher, meaning he would start the first game of the second series against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field on Friday, April 5.
If Marcum cannot make his first start — which would likely fall on Sunday, April 7 — then left-hander Aaron Laffey would probably take his place. Laffey would work out of the Mets’ bullpen as a long man if needed during the season’s first week. And before we leave the pitchers, Jenrry Mejia will have two weeks of inactivity due to forearm tendinitis Santana and Frank Francisco should open the season on the disabled list, and Pedro Feliciano has agreed to go to Triple-A to build up his arm strength and his velocity, which has been lacking. Did I get everybody?
David Wright looks to be a solid bet to make the Opening Day lineup. Wright says he’ll be there — his opinion on making the first game hasn’t changed at all.
Wright served as the designated hitter on Tuesday in two minor league games, singling once in five at-bats and running the bases as well. He will not play on Wednesday, and will instead continue to do fielding drills at third base and take batting practice. On Thursday, he’ll again take part in minor league games.
Will he play in a major league game down here before the season gets under way?
Daniel Murphy is inching closer to joining Wright in the Opening Day infield as well. Murphy went 1-for-5 with a walk and played five innings at second base on Tuesday as he continues his minor league rehab. Murphy has been slow to come around, but believes he has enough time to make the April 1 deadline.
The Mets will have to be creative with their 40-man roster in order to get everybody on board before the season begins. The roster now stands at 39 after Brandon Hicks was lopped off. But they need to make room for Marlon Byrd, LaTroy Hawkins, Scott Atchison, Omar Quintanilla, probably Laffey for Marcum and possibly Scott Rice instead of Robert Carson as the second lefty in the bullpen. That’s a lot of non-essential prospects to try and trade over the next three or four days.
Manager Terry Collins knew coming in that his team would have to stay healthy — especially his primary players — because of the lack of depth available. That hasn’t exactly happened with injuries to Wright, Santana, Murphy and now Marcum. Not to mention all of the other bumps and bruises.
Nonetheless, Collins says he’ll have 25 ready to go.
C U soon
Wright and Murphy are solid bets to be ready for Opening Day — finally some much-needed good news, Mets fans. Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…