Harper: Mets' Alderson says team didn't do Wheeler wrong

By on March 18, 2015

PORT ST. LUCIE — A day later, seemingly aware of criticism over his handling of Zack Wheeler’s elbow injury, Sandy Alderson was defiant in stating his belief that the Mets acted properly.

“Why would we treat (Matt) Harvey with the kind of caution that we did and then throw somebody else under the bus?” Alderson asked rather impatiently while answering questions from reporters. “Somebody who has essentially equal value to us as an organization. That wouldn’t make any sense.”

Fair enough. But does that mean the Mets couldn’t have done more to prevent Wheeler from tearing his elbow ligament during this spring training?

Not at all. They could have proceeded more cautiously with Wheeler after

The percentages of such a result from Tommy John surgery are in Wheeler’s favor, but there are no guarantees. Thus it’s fair to ask if the Mets should have shut Wheeler down late last season when he was skipping bullpen sessions between starts as a way of managing the elbow pain.

A nd essentially it becomes a matter of philosophy.

“There was no benefit to shutting him down,” Alderson said. “It’s the proverbial ‘You can’t hurt it anymore.’ Or, if in the case of a ligament, it’s already implicated because of the tendinitis in the tendon. And so then the question is, ‘OK, was the tear inevitable or was this a function of how he was used?’

“From my standpoint, it’s inevitable given the practicality of how somebody is used over the course of a major league season. It’s similar to the choice of conservative treatment or surgery. My experience is the conservative treatment hardly ever works. And the only thing it does is waste time.”

That’s a firm stance, and perhaps it could put a young player in a difficult position if he preferred the conservative route. There is no indication Wheeler felt that way, but he said he won’t talk about it until after he is examined in New York on Wednesday.

Ultimately the question is whether Alderson did the right thing on behalf of both Wheeler and the Mets. The way he laid it out on Tuesday, it was hard to argue with him.


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