Mets Lose Reyes, Murphy and Game

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Mets Lose Reyes, Murphy and Game

Post on Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:54 am

The Mets’ clubhouse felt more like a funeral home than a locker room Sunday, and perhaps rightly so.

During their 6-5 loss to the Atlanta Braves, the Mets lost Jose Reyes and Daniel Murphy, their two best hitters, to injuries. In Murphy’s case, the injury to his left knee could be serious enough to end his season.

Afterward, in hushed tones and with downcast eyes, the team’s remaining players seemed to process the idea that any hope of making the playoffs, as unlikely as it had already become, had been to put to rest before their eyes.

“We feel like we just walked off a battlefield,” Justin Turner said.

The first of the afternoon’s two jarring moments occurred in the second inning. With many of the 29,853 fans still finding their way to their seats at Citi Field, a voice on the stadium’s speakers announced that Willie Harris would pinch-hit for Reyes, stirring them to attention.

What the fans and even most of the players did not know at the time was that Reyes pulled his left hamstring while running out a grounder to lead off the bottom of the first. He felt a twinge as he sprinted down the line and appeared to slow awkwardly as he reached the bag.

When Reyes went out to play shortstop in the next inning, he realized he had lost mobility in his leg.

General Manager Sandy Alderson said after the game that Reyes, who is hitting .336, had been sent to the Hospital for Special Surgery to have the hamstring examined. He described the injury as similar to the one Reyes had in July — one that was minor but which nonetheless forced him to miss 12 games.

“We’ll wait for the M.R.I. and decide what to do next,” Alderson said.

But if Reyes’s departure deflated the stadium, the incident involving Murphy in the seventh quieted the crowd to near silence.

The fans, cheering because the Mets had cut a three-run deficit to a run, seemed to collectively cringe as Murphy’s left knee buckled to the side after Jose Constanza slid in feet first while stealing second base. Murphy, playing second base after entering the game in the sixth as a pinch-hitter, hopped toward center field before collapsing on his side in the grass.

As he writhed in pain, Manager Terry Collins and the head trainer, Ray Ramirez, sprinted out of the dugout and onto the field toward him.

“He was in a lot of pain,” Collins said. “He just said, ‘Get me off the field.’ That’s all he kept saying, ‘Get me off the field, get me off the field.’ ”

An X-ray taken immediately at the stadium showed no fractures in Murphy’s leg, and he was sent to the same hospital as Reyes for his own magnetic resonance imaging test. Though the results had not yet returned a couple of hours after the game, the Mets players and coaches seemed to understand that Murphy would probably be out for a considerable amount of time with what appeared to be a major knee injury.

Murphy was expected to be the starting first baseman last year, but injured his right knee late in spring training, and Ike Davis took the job for good in mid-April. In June, as Murphy was learning to play second base at Class AAA Buffalo, he was wiped out by a slide while attempting to turn a double play and tore a ligament in his right knee.

This season, Murphy is having a strong year at the plate, hitting .320, but not necessarily in the field. He began as a pinch-hitter and backup second baseman, but in a twist of fate became the starting first baseman in May when Davis injured his ankle. He has played several games at third base since then, but the Mets have struggled to find the position he is best suited to play.

“I’m sick to my stomach for Murph,” Collins said. “I was there to watch him rehab last year, and what he went through, so I feel terrible for him.”

Collins added that he thought Constanza’s slide was clean.

The injuries sent the Mets scrambling into a baseball version of musical chairs, drastically altering the look of their infield.

David Wright spent the final two innings playing shortstop, which he had last done in high school. Scott Hairston, who started the game in right field, played one inning at second base, which he had last done in 2008. And Turner moved from second base to shortstop to second base again.

The Mets, depleted and disheartened, battled from a 5-2 deficit to tie the score in the seventh, when Jason Bay scored his third run of the game on Angel Pagan’s double, and it appeared they might salvage a shaky start from the rookie Dillon Gee.

But the game ended with an unfamiliar alignment of Mets succumbing to a familiar foe.

With the score tied in the ninth, the longtime Mets nemesis Chipper Jones, amid a chorus of boos, bounced a slider from Bobby Parnell through the right side of the infield to drive in the deciding run.

“We’ve got a little black cloud over us now,” Parnell said.

An apt description of a team in mourning.


Sandy Alderson said the Mets had called up Ruben Tejada from Class AAA Buffalo for Monday’s game against San Diego in anticipation of a roster move. ... Atlanta’s Dan Uggla extended his hitting streak to 28 games with an eighth-inning single.

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