Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
With Opening Day taking place one week from today at Citi Field, 24 of the 25 players who are projected to make the Mets' 25-man roster are good-to-go, and another -- Jason Vargas -- may be ready as well.
And if Vargas -- who had surgery to remove the hamate bone in his right (non-throwing hand) after being hit by a liner -- isn't ready on March 29, the expecation is that he'll be back roughly a week later.
The only players who are dealing with injury issues are Dominic Smith (who is close to returning from a quad injury, but will be doing so for Triple-A Las Vegas) and Michael Conforto (who is ahead of schedule after having shoulder surgery last August).
The Mets dealt with some minor aches and pains during Spring Training, with Jacob deGrom (back), Yoenis Cespedes (wrist), Juan Lagares (hamstring), and Jay Bruce (foot) among those missing time. But the idea was to be extra cautious during February and March while preparing for the games that matter.
And with Opening Day nearly here, the Mets are on track to be at full strength -- a season after injuries decimated their roster as they fell out of contention and eventually traded veteran players with an eye on the future.
The core of the 2018 Mets is similar to the one that helped them reach the World Series in 2015 and the Wild Card game in 2016. And of course similar to the one that was done in by injuries in 2017.
After what happened in 2017, the Mets reshaped their training and medical initiatives protocol, which GM Sandy Alderson, senior advisor for strength and conditioning Mike Barwis, and new Director of Performance and Sports Science Jim Cavallini discussed in January on SNY.
"Fans should know that we recognize that we had some shortcoming in the performance area," Alderson said. "That was reflected in injuries, but also general preparation and level of performance," he added, noting that the Mets want to be "anticipating problems rather than reacting to them."
Barwis discussed his role, explaining that it's more hands-on during the offseason.
"Interact in their training programs, help develop injury prevention programs" Barwis said about his offseason work with players. "During the in-season, it's more physiology, biomechanics, information on anything we can do that's current in science. And providing the resources to our staff as they run the job in the in-season."
Cavallini, who spent the last three years working as the Director of Performance for the United States Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., said what he's hoping to bring to the table is "a piece that's going to integrate all the great assests we have in place."
Aside from bringing Cavallini on board, the Mets promoted Brian Chicklo to head trainer this offseason (replacing Ray Ramirez), and named Joseph Golia the assistant trainer.