With Kirk Nieuwenhuis added to the list of oblique injuries Sunday, Terry Collins counted five players with issues related to “core” body parts arising since camp opened.
That may be an underestimate, since in addition to David Wright, Scott Hairston and Robert Carson’s side-muscle injuries, Lucas Duda, Daniel Herrera and Reese Havens have dealt with back issues.
Collins speculated there are a bevy of factors, from players getting too bulked up and tight from working out in the gym, to overworking pregame such as in the cage, to proper hydration and caffeine intake, to taking pregame stretching seriously.
“It didn’t happen 20 years ago,” Collins said about core-muscle injuries. “I never knew of anybody who had an oblique issue 20 years ago. Seriously. There’s that thing, well, 20 years ago no one did sit-ups. That’s not true. Guys did sit-ups. [Barry] Bonds and those guys, they were big and strong. I saw him in Pittsburgh. There wasn’t so much focus on it. It’s just part of their conditioning was, ‘Hey, look, you’ve got to do some sit-ups.’ That was just part of the process. And now the whole process is core, core, core and we have blowout, blowout, blowout.
“And, again, the strength guys are doing the best they can to keep everybody going. And it’s important to have a strong core. I understand that. But if that’s the case, then we’ve got to back off the workload.”
What are the Mets doing to combat it?
“We’re backing off the number of swings they take in BP,” Collins said. “We’re making sure, like today, I told the guys this morning, ‘Look, when you’re out there in stretch, there’s a reason why we’re doing it. So there’s got to be some effort involved so you can get yourself loosened up.’
“Nobody is pointing fingers at one thing here. We’re all involved in it.”
As for the rash of Mets upper-body injuries, Collins added: “You better believe it’s troubling. And we have no answers. They’re in a lot of camps. [Marlins manager] Ozzie [Guillen] tells me they’ve got it in their camp. He said he’s got a guy that blew an oblique jumping up for a ball, reaching up. So they’re everywhere.
“I think it’s a combination of everything. I think it’s a combination of dehydration. I think it’s a combination of they’re so strong. And I think it’s a combination that they work their butts off. I mean, the easiest thing is to go to Scottie (Hairston as an example). He swung too much the first day. It’s our fault we didn’t back him off. And he started to feel tightness and didn’t back off. So there’s a lot of factors involved.”