The injury bug is once again hitting the New York Mets. Starter Jon Niese remains on the DL, although he could be close to returning. Last week, David Wright was forced to go on the DL, which will be a devastating injury for the Mets.
Now, closer Bobby Parnell has joined them, which will make things even more difficult for a bullpen that is already wearing thin and beginning to tire out.
Parnell missed the Mets’ games over the weekend with what was called a stiff neck, but upon being placed on the disabled list, the team called his injury as a herniated disk. Although it’s possible that Parnell could recover quickly, surgery has not been ruled out. In any event, the Mets can’t afford to have Parnell out for long; he was an All-Star snub and has been one of the best closers in the NL this season.
More importantly, the Mets don’t have depth in their bullpen to survive without Parnell for an extended period of time. In the little time since he’s been unavailable, they’ve already started to feel the effects of his absence, as David Aardsma failed miserably in situations over the weekend that would normally have gone to Parnell.
LaTroy Hawkins has been the Mets’ second-best bullpen arm this season, and Scott Atchison has done well, despite dealing with his own injury issues this season. However, neither is capable of filling Parnell’s role as the closer.
Parnell’s injury comes on the heels of a potentially season-ending injury for lefty Josh Edgin, which further weakened the bullpen. Carlos Torres and Gonzalez Germen have both performed well out of the bullpen this season, but instead of being able to fill the void, they have to be saved for long relief as the Mets continue to play extra-inning games.
As the season winds down, the Mets will also be forced to curb the innings of young aces Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, which will put further strain on their bullpen.
After already being in rough shape heading into the final two months of the season, things are about to get even tougher for the Mets bullpen with Parnell heading to the DL. The Mets aren’t competing for a playoff spot, but they are trying to be competitive, and a bullpen that’s hurt and worn out isn’t going to help.