The punches keep on coming for the Mets, while other players deal with various sprains, bruises, and soreness.
David Wright, New York Mets (Partial Rectus Abdominis Tear)
Things just got worse for the Mets. After further tests, Wright was diagnosed with a partially torn rectus abdominis muscle toward the left side of his abdomen, which is in the same areas as the obliques. The treatment won’t be much different from oblique treatment; Wright will initially focus on rest and modalities like ice and gentle motion. Wright will then move to strengthening exercises and, eventually, baseball-related activities.
Wright’s soreness lingered longer than expected, so he had an ultrasound-guided injection to help calm the inflammation. The third baseman feels like he should be back in time for Opening Day, but that might be overly optimistic when you consider his comps are Ryan Zimmerman (who needed surgery) and Kevin Slowey (who didn’t). Both missed a little over two months’ time because of their partial tears, but the range of a “partial tear” is quite large. It looks like Wright will be back before the two-month mark, but we need to keep the extended timeline in mind. Both hitting and fielding can aggravate the injury, so we will have to wait and see how he responds to those activities.
Sprains, soreness, and surgeries abound in the latest spring action.
Taylor Teagarden, Baltimore Orioles (Low Back Soreness)
A recent MRI of Teagarden’s sore lower back raised concerns, so he visited a specialist for another opinion. A CT scan was ordered to better assess the area, but the O’s haven’t released an official diagnosis yet. MRIs can give us good information, but they don’t always give us everything we need. The CT can give a much clearer picture of the bone structure, which leads one to believe his injury may be related to the vertebra.
The good news is that there has been no talk of surgery yet. The bad news is that there is still no definitive timeline for his recovery. Some are speculating he will be out a week or so while others are speculating it will be much longer. No one really knows until we get an accurate diagnosis.
Brandon Wood and Eric Duncan find new life in the NL Central, Brandon Belt gets reacquainted with Fresno, Daniel Murphy tries to clean up the Mets' second-base mess, and the Rule 5 regifting season hits full swing.
Michael Jong covers the catcher battles in Houston and Texas and the mess of middle infielders in St. Louis.
According to Rangers manager Ron Washington, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden are both in a "dead heat" for the starting catcher job in Texas. PECOTA has them in a dead heat offensively as well, as both project to a TAv around .250 with strikeout at rates upward of 25%. The primary difference lies in how they make up for those strikeouts. According to PECOTA's 50th percentile projections, Saltalamacchia has a higher-than-average BABIP projection (.325 to Teagarden's .308) and has the better contact rate (70.5% to 66.9%) between the two, while Teagarden adds value in his walks (11.1% to Salty's 9.8%) and better home run power (25.5 HR/600PA to 22.8). For both players, PECOTA's projected batting lines would be marked improvements over their past performance.
According to Heater Rangers author Joey Matschulat of Baseball Time in Arlington, there is a minimal chance that the Rangers will platoon Saltamacchia and Teagarden, meaning the playing time will go strictly to the winner. The team probably trusts the upside on Saltalamacchia’s offense more, as he is the younger player. PECOTA agrees, pegging Salty for a higher breakout and improvement chance. However, defense may also play a factor for the starting role, and that is Teagarden's primary strength; he was highly regarded in the minors as a top defensive backstop, and while Salty has improved according to Matschulat, he is still the inferior defensive option.