- Adam Rubin, ESPNNewYork.com
- 0 Shares
After suffering a blown save in Sunday's 7-6 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, the 24-year-old Mejia revealed he has been dealing with a hernia. He hopes to delay surgery until after the season, but whether he can pitch through the injury until then remains unclear.
Mejia said he was examined Saturday by a Phillies doctor for the hernia. He has known about the issue for three weeks. It did not become public until he acknowledged the injury following Sunday's blown save.
He is taking medication to try to manage any pain.
"The doctor said if that bothers me too much, let him know and they're going to fix it," Mejia said. "I want to keep pitching and have the full season and then have the operation."
Mejia took over for the bottom of the ninth at Citizens Bank Park with a 6-5 lead. He surrendered a leadoff double to Cody Asche and game-tying single to pinch hitter Marlon Byrd. After Byrd ultimately stole second with two outs, manager Terry Collins elected to have Mejia intentionally walk Chase Utley, despite the count already being full. Collins reasoned that Utley, who already had homered and tripled Sunday, was a hotter hitter than Ryan Howard.
Howard then delivered an RBI single as the Mets suffered their MLB-high 11th walk-off loss of the season.
"There's no excuse," Mejia said, dismissing injuries.
Mejia has allowed at least two hits in each of his past four appearances, which now include a pair of losses. He has confessed in the past week to dealing with lower back and calf tightness, but the hernia issue appears more serious.
Last season, Mets reliever Scott Rice attempted to pitch through dual hernias before finally calling it a season and undergoing surgery Sept. 10.
After learning of Mejia's admission Sunday, former Mets reliever Tim Byrdak tweeted: "Dear Mr Mejia. I pitched with sports hernia in 2010, results will not get better because you won't be able to finish your pitches#justssayin. I'm no doc but tear should not get bigger, mechanics could change and that is what could lead to more probs."
Collins has downplayed the effect of injuries on Mejia's recent performance. Instead, Collins speculated that the first-year closer might be hitting a wall, affecting the quality of his breaking pitches.
Mejia, who began the season in the rotation, has made 43 appearances (seven starts) and logged 74 innings this season. He threw only 52 innings last season between the majors and minors because of interruptions due to an elbow issue that ultimately led to Aug. 28 surgery to remove a bone spur.
"At the beginning of the season, everything was good, normal," Mejia said. "Now, I've got my leg, thigh, my back, a little bit of a hernia. So I've got to keep going. I don't want to stop for the season. I want to keep going. I want to keep pitching."
New York Mets closer Jenrry Mejia has a bigger issue than a cranky calf and balky back.