Going into the 2017 season, the New York Mets had one of the deepest starting rotations in the MLB. After a few major injuries however, they suddenly have a much thinner rotation.
On Monday, the Mets announced that ace Noah Syndergaard would be placed on the 10-day disabled list with a partially torn lat muscle in his right arm. This move came after he had an MRI that revealed the partial tear. Even though he is on the 10-day disabled list for now, Syndergaard is expected to be sidelined for much longer than that. There is a good chance that he will miss a couple months. During the 2015 season, Mets left-hander Steven Matz had a partially torn lat muscle in his pitching arm. Matz ended up missing two months.
Syndergaard was scheduled to pitch last Thursday afternoon against the Atlanta Braves. However, he was scratched from the start just hours before the game due to biceps and shoulder discomfort. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson wanted Syndergaard to go for an MRI. The team scheduled an MRI for him on Friday, but Syndergaard refused to have one. He threw a bullpen session on that day instead.
After throwing the bullpen session, Syndergaard told reporters that he felt good. Alderson decided to let him pitch on Sunday in D.C. against the Washington Nationals. Early on in the game, it was apparent that something clearly was not right with Syndergaard. He gave up five runs in the first inning. His pitches were not moving like they normally do. Mets manager Terry Collins realized that Syndergaard was in pain when he grabbed his right side after throwing a pitch to Bryce Harper. This was in the bottom of the second inning. Collins pulled him from the game immediately.
It was revealed after the game that Syndergaard had a possible lat strain. He had an MRI in New York the next morning, which officially revealed the injury that the Mets had feared.
The Mets will now have to find a way to survive without their ace for the next few months. In 2016, Syndergaard had a dominant year and was clearly the Mets best pitcher. He was 14-9 and had an ERA of 2.60. Syndergaard had gotten off to a good start this season. He was 1-2 with a 3.29 ERA before getting injured.
Right-hander Rafael Montero will take Syndergaard’s place in the rotation for now. Montero has struggled over the course of his short MLB career. In 30 career games for the Mets, he has a 5.51 ERA. The reason that the Mets have to turn to Montero is because Matz and Seth Lugo are still working their way back from injuries. Neither pitcher has played at all this season. Matz is dealing with an elbow injury and is expected to be out for at least a few more weeks. Lugo has a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. On Tuesday, he threw off the rubber for the first time since suffering the injury. Right now, there is no clear timetable for Lugo’s return.
It will not be easy, but the Mets will have to stay competitive without their best pitcher. Right now, the expectation is to have him back sometime around the All-Star break. At that point, the team can only hope that they are still fighting for a playoff spot.
Flyers Remove Statue of Kate Smith
The Philadelphia Flyers have joined the New York Yankees in the removal of ties to singer Kate Smith, whose famous rendition of “God Bless America” was played at both Flyers and Yankees games.
Earlier this week, the Yankees decided to suspend the use of Smith’s rendition, which was played during the seventh-inning stretch, while they investigated allegations of racism against the later singer.
According to a report from the New York Daily News, there are conflicting claims about Smith’s 1939 song “That’s Why Darkies Were Born” which
originated in the 1931 Broadway revue “George White’s Scandals” and was considered satire but includes racist language, including the line;
“Someone had to pick the cotton. … That’s why darkies were born.”
The song was recorded by Smith and Paul Robeson, who was black.
The Flyers put out the following statement on Sunday (h/t ESPN):
“The Flyers have enjoyed a long and popular relationship with ‘God Bless America,’ as performed by the late Kate Smith, a woman who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor for her patriotic contributions to our nation.
“But in recent days, we learned that several of the songs Kate Smith performed in the 1930s include lyrics and sentiments that are incompatible with the values of our organization, and evoke painful and unacceptable themes.”
Smith, who was popular during the WWII era, recorded the offensive jingle, “Pickaninny Heaven,” which she directed at “colored children” who should fantasize about an amazing place with “great big watermelons,” among various other treats.
Smith also endorsed the “Mammy Doll” back in 1939 which was based on a racist caricature of a black woman similar to Aunt Jemima.
“The Yankees have been made aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and decided to immediately and carefully review this new information,” a club spokesman said. “The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.”
The odds aren’t good that Smith’s songs will return to their prominent places during sporting events such as they were with the Yankees and the Flyers.
There is a lot of cleaning up to do when it comes to racism in sports, and weeding out songs attached to artists with questionable, and controversial, backgrounds such as Smith’s, is important in pushing forward towards the future.
MLB Investigating Racist Social Media Messages Sent to Cubs’ Carl Edwards Jr.
Major League Baseball is investigating racial messages sent, via social media, to Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. prior to his demotion to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs back on April 6th.
According to The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney, the messages have caught the attention of both the Cubs and the MLB Players Association, leading to the launch of the investigation.
Mooney had been a solid bullpen option during the last few seasons, but had a nightmare start to the 2019 season posting a terrible 32.40 ERA in just 1.2 innings of work over four appearances.
Carlos Zambrano Attempting Comeback, Signs with Indy Team
Former MLB pitcher Carlos Zambrano is attempting a comeback and has signed with the American Association’s Chicago Dogs, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmyer.
Zambrano last pitched in the majors back in 2012 with the Miami Marlins, but earlier in his career he finished in the top five of the Cy Young voting in the National League three times as a member of the Chicago Cubs.
Zambrano started his comeback bid last fall when he took the mound for 7 starts in the Mexican League, pitching to the tune of a 5.18 ERA, and performing even worse during a short stint in the Venezuelan Winter League.
Given his recent lack of production, it is a longshot to believe that Zambrano will return to the MLB level, but stranger things have happened.
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