By Ed Coleman
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How much is too much? Well, I guess you just can't have enough injuries. What's one more at this rate?
Starting pitcher Shaun Marcum flew to New York on Tuesday's off-day to receive a cortisone shot for an impingement in his right shoulder. Marcum was slated to pitch on Thursday against the Cardinals at Tradition Field, but obviously he has been scratched. Jeremy Hefner, who will likely take the place of another ailing Mets starter -- Johan Santana -- to begin the season, will pitch instead.
And now we have another reason why Aaron Laffey is being stretched out.
The injury to Marcum does not appear that serious -- he says it's something he's gotten used to during spring training.
Marcum missed a chunk of time last season with elbow soreness and made just 21 starts, and he did lay out for some time this spring to build up the strength in his shoulder.
But manager Terry Collins said that he expects Marcum will be back on the mound to start either March 25 or 26, which would put him in line for action during the opening week. Marcum last pitched five days ago on March 16, giving up five hits and two runs over four innings against the Marlins.
Marcum just adds to a long list of injuries to both starters and reserves that the Mets have accumulated this spring. Santana, David Wright, Daniel Murphy, Frank Francisco, Justin Turner, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Jenrry Mejia -- did I forget anybody? Probably. Just wait a second. Something else will crop up.
Turner looks to be okay, he wanted to play Thursday and is expected to be in the lineup on Friday night. Nieuwenhuis was the D.H. in a minor league game on Wednesday, singling in five at-bats. It was his first action since March 3 because of a deep bone bruise on his knee which he hurt diving into 2B on an attempted steal. Wright says he will be ready, Murphy says he hopes to be, Francisco will likely begin the season on the D.L. and Santana, well, that's anyone's guess, but start with D.L. and work from there.
Dillon Gee's final inning against Houston in Kissimmee on Wednesday night brightened his outlook considerably. His tempo was better as he picked up the pace on the mound, but the results were ugly once again - four innings - 7 hits - five runs - one walk - four strikeouts - one HR - one HBP - 77 pitches, 47 strikes. Gee's spring ERA stands at 8.31, and here's the aggregate line on his last two starts - 6 innings - 10 hits - 11 runs - five walks - four strikeouts - two HR - three HBP - and three wild pitches. Ouch!
Laffey threw another scoreless inning against the Astros, that's now 9 on the spring. Laffey will start one of the two games that the Mets have on this upcoming split-squad Sunday. Sidearmer Greg Burke hurled 1 2/3 scoreless innings as he looks to cement a spot in the bullpen to open the season.
Speaking of the pen, with Collins announcing that he will open the season with 2 lefties there, things are beginning to fall in place. Bobby Parnell is the closer, and expect veteran relievers Brandon Lyon, Latroy Hawkins and Scott Atchison to be there. That should leave Burke and Jeurys Familia for the final righty spot, with Burke the favorite as Familia has options and probably needs seasoning. Josh Edgin should be one lefty, with Pedro Feliciano, Robert Carson and Scott Rice vying for the second lefty role. Feliciano is the veteran still trying to up his velocity and arm strength, Carson has options, and Rice has pitched well and is a Collins' favorite.
The Mets rallied to beat Houston, by the way, 7-5 in Kissimmee. Zach Lutz had a game-tying single and Matt den Dekker followe with a two-run triple. Brian Bixler also had an RBI triple, and Colin Cowgill (more Cowgill !!!) contributed a two-run HR, his 3rd of the spring.
C U soon
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