2009’s injury bug has hit the 2010 Mets, and the season hasn’t even begun yet. Carlos Beltran had surgery on his right knee Wednesday, and is expected to return to baseball activities in 12 weeks, meaning he will likely miss the start of the season. But just like everything surrounding the Mets, this is not without its controversy. Apparently the Mets were not on board with this procedure. That’s evident in the statement the team made:
Carlos Beltran had worsening of osteoarthritis of the right knee during the offseason. He had not been experiencing pain following the conclusion of the season and into his early offseason conditioning. The symptoms returned to the point where pre-spring training conditioning became too painful. He elected to undergo arthroscopic clean out of the arthritic area of his knee by Beltran’s personal physician Dr. Richard Steadman today in Colorado. He is anticipated to return to baseball activities in 12 weeks.
Notice it says “he elected…” And notice the procedure was performed by “Beltran’s personal physician,” not Mets team physician Dr. David Altchek. The New York Post quotes a person familiar with the situation, who said the Commissioners Office and the Players Association have been alerted that “the Mets are claiming this was done without clearance and that the Mets are threatening to take some form of action. There is a potential issue out there.”
But according to the Post, the Mets probably don’t have much of a case. A friend of Beltran’s tells the paper that Beltran was under Altchek’s care from October through December. It was only in December when he could not perform that Beltran went to see Steadman. And the friend said Mets doctors and trainers were kept abreast of the diagnosis in Colorado, even if the Mets did not agree with the remedy.
On the field, Angel Pagan will most probably see the bulk of the playing time in center in Beltran’s absence. He performed well when he filled in for Beltran last season. Perhaps Fernando Martinez will get a look. But both Pagan and Martinez are injury-prone themselves.
The bright side is that 12 weeks from today is April 7th. The season starts two days earlier, so if all goes well, Beltran might only miss the first couple of weeks, maybe a month, following a minor league rehab assignment.
But the bottom line is that the Mets might have a “potential issue” with one of their star players. Great way to start the new season.