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Sunday, March 11, 2012
David Wright, Tim Byrdak off to NY

By Adam Rubin
ESPNNewYork.com

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- New York Mets third baseman David Wright and left-handed reliever Tim Byrdak will travel to New York for further evaluation at the Hospital for Special Surgery, general manager Sandy Alderson said.

Wright injured a left rib cage muscle during an infield drill early in camp and has yet to appear in a Grapefruit League game. He recently has been taking grounders, but has not yet been cleared to begin throwing or swinging a bat. Alderson said Wright will have an "ultrasound-guided" cortisone shot in Manhattan.

Byrdak, the lone left-hander expected to be in the Mets' bullpen to open the season, said he has been suffering from knee irritation since the offseason.

Mets manager Terry Collins raised arthroscopic surgery as a possibility to clean out the joint, but added that it is premature to conclude that is the course of action since Byrdak won't be fully examined in New York until Monday. Still, even a cleanout would be a minimal issue, the manager maintained.

"I had Mitch Williams in Houston my first year," Collins said. "He got scoped, and 10 days later he was in my office jumping up and down, showing me he was ready to go. I'm hoping that's what happens with Tim Byrdak."

The Mets desperately need Byrdak on the roster because they do not have another bona fide lefty specialist in camp. Collins even mentioned Josh Edgin as a roster possibility if Byrdak missed time. Edgin -- who is now on the board in the manager's office with other left-handed relievers -- is not even in major league camp. He has not appeared above Class A in the minors. Collins also identified major league veteran Garrett Olson as a possibility, or Chuck James. Daniel Herrera, another left-hander, is idled with a back muscle issue.

"It was something, working out in the offseason, there was a little discomfort," Byrdak said. "I actually felt it when I went to sit on the couch one day. I went to put my foot underneath me and I said I really didn't feel right. But there was no injury, no pop, no sudden movement that tweaked it. It's been something kind of nagging around. I was pitching with it this whole time. It's still kind of there. I sought treatment for it and it wasn't really responding to the treatment. We're going to have the doctor look at it tomorrow and see where we go from there."

As for Wright, Collins minimized the issue. Initially, though, Wright had been expected to see a team doctor, Struan Coleman, at the team's spring training complex on Monday. Now he is accompanying Byrdak to New York.

"We will find out more tomorrow when he sees the doctor," Collins said. "Hopefully he will give us the go-ahead (to up baseball activity). David has been itching to take some swings. We'll know more tomorrow where we stand. ... He's real close. He's real close to doing baseball activities. But the last hurdle is they'll decide in New York what the next step is."

The Mets have been decimated in camp by rib cage/oblique issues. Collins counted five players in total affected by that particular issue, including an injury to Scott Hairston that likely will land the backup outfielder on the disabled list to open the season.

Collins said the injury did not happen 20 years ago, and is partly attributable to players bulking up their cores so much these days. The manager said team officials already have sought to find ways to combat the issue. The Mets now are taking fewer swings in the batting cage. Collins said the organization also is looking into dehydration and caffeine intake as potential contributors.

"You better believe it's troubling," Collins said. "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."