Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Wright Heads Back to NY with Shoulder Soreness

The rehabilitation process for Mets third baseman David Wright took a turn for the worse on Tuesday.  According to Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson, Wright was diagnosed with a shoulder impingement and has been flown back to New York to be evaluated. Anderson added that Wright's status for Opening Day is in question.

Wright has been taking things very slowly this spring. He was throwing the ball only 60-70 feet, and with little zip. All of his workouts happened in private around Mets training personal, and the only time he played before public eyes was as a DH in a couple preseason games.

Alderson added that Wright will be shut down for a couple of weeks to make sure that his shoulders stabilizes after he takes a PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) injection in his shoulder to ease the pain. There is no structural damage.

Obviously this news raises red flags about Wright's health. He is coming off of two major surgeries the last two years. Last season he missed most of the season after having neck surgery to take care of a herniated disc. The year before he dealt with Spinal stenosis that cost him 115 games in 2015.

Overall Wright has played in only 75 games over the past two years combined.

Wright hasn't played a full season since, 2014, when he played in 134 games with 535 at bats. He hasn't hit double-digits in homers since 2013, and has not had a 90-RBI season since 2012.

The hope was that in 2017, Wright would actually be healthy enough to give the Mets 115 - 120 games this year.

With this latest setback, who knows how long Wright will be out. He most certainly will miss Opening Day, April 3. He most likely will be out of major league action till at least the end of April, if all goes well.

But, let's be honest with ourselves, Wright's career is likely over. The injuries aside, he hasn't been the same ball player for quite some time. Even if Wright were to come back from this set-back, there was always the lingering question of how effective he would be in the field, and at the plate. At 34, there a lot of great things Wright can do with his life, and the time may come to realize that.

His future on the field is likely over. If he wants to stay in baseball, and pursue coaching or a front office position, I am sure someone will open the doors wide open for him.

The Mets have to be prepared to move on, seriously this time. They had Jose Reyes as a potential back-up to third base if a setback such as this were to befall Wright, and it has. Reyes will be the Mets starting third baseman this season. There is no question now.

The only question the Mets have to answer is this, what does the future lay in store for the Mets at the position. Clearly Reyes is a stop gap at the position. The team will have to thing long and hard about finding a permeant replacement for Wright.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Wright Starts Throwing, Still Long Way from Return

For the first time since last June, David Wright picked up a baseball and threw it. No it wasn’t at full speed, and the throws were not anywhere near regulation tosses across the diamond from third to first base. He’s not ready for that just yet.

Wright had 30 throws that averaged between 60-70 feet. He did the exercise in private with only the Mets training staff looking on.

If anything, Wright left without any discomfort, and reports are that he felt good, if not anxious to get back to the player he once was.

The questions will be how soon before Wright can play in Spring Training games, and when he does return, what will his position be?

First things first, the Mets have to get Wright back into game shape. Reports from nj.com say that Wright spent much of the offseason fielding grounders and taking batting practice when he could, but he’s still nowhere near where the Mets want him to be to play in a game.

Let’s remember that this is a man coming off a very tricky herniated disc surgery in his neck – an operation that required the procedure be done through his throat (ouch!). He hand plenty of inactivity, and had to live off a liquid diet, resulting in a significant weight loss.

This is also the same man who had spinal stenosis the season before, causing him to miss more than three-quarters of the 2015 season. In all Wright has played in 75 regular season games, with a .260 batting average, 12 homers and 31 RBI in two seasons combined.

Considering the circumstances, it’s hard to imagine Wright playing in the Mets preseason opener against Boston, or any of the Mets five games that close out the month of February. Expect to hear a lot about Wright working out in the backfields of Tradition Field for at least the first two weeks of spring training games until he can get back to full speed.

At 34-years-old, the Mets have to temper expectations, and make sure that Wright is 110 percent before throwing him to the wolves. They need him for April 3 against Atlanta at Citi Field, not March 3 against the Astros at Tradition Field.

When Wright does return to a major league diamond, where will he play? Lucas Duda is penciled in at first base. Jose Reyes is one of a number of faces that could fill in at third base.

Ideally the Mets could be looking at a platoon at the hot corner with Wright and Reyes taking turns at third base all season. (Who would have thought 11-years ago we’d be saying that about the Wright/Reyes tandem). Wright is most comfortable at third where he’s been a seven-time all star and two-time gold glove recipient.  When he was going well, nobody picked the ball out of the dirt better than Wright did.

But, the times they are a-changing. Reyes played 50 games at third base last year and made only six errors, showing he’s more than capable to handle the position.

A platoon at third could even affect the playing time of Asdrubal Cabrera or Lucas Duda. If Wright is playing third, one would imagine that Terry Collins would prefer to keep Reyes’ speed in the lineup, meaning Reyes would go back to short. Cabrera could be on the bench, or even at first base, benching Duda.

What about Wright to first?  John Harper from the Daily News noted that nobody from the organization has talked to Wright about moving to first base, and Terry Collins downplayed the idea.

Playing first base is not easy. The ball bounces off the bat differently. First baseman have to be prepared to jump at the ball quicker, and make plays on it like a goaltender. Thus far the Mets have shown little inclination to get Wright work over there. If they want him at first, they need to start working him there now.

More importantly the biggest question remains, how long will Wright play? Wright hasn’t played a full season since 2014, when he played in 134 games with 535 at bats. He hasn’t hit double-digits in homers since 2013, when he hit 18 bombs. He has not had a 90-RBI season since 2012. 

Honestly, Wright’s full time status as an everyday player is over. There is no way after two years of neck and back issues that he can play like he was 27. Realistically the Mets have to hope that Wright gets them 115 - 120 games this season, or roughly 400 – 450 at bats. If Wright returns to full strength that could be possible, if not, we could be looking at another year where Wright just barley cracks the lineup. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Darrelle Revis Charged With Assault, Robbery in Pittsburgh

If 2016 wasn't a bad enough year for Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, 2017 is not looking much better.

Revis was charged with four felonies and a misdemeanor after his involvement in an altercations with two men in Pittsburgh last week. The report was broken last night. According to reports two men were left unconscious, and the Jets star has been charged by police for two felony counts of aggravated assault, one felony count each of robbery and conspiracy, and a misdemeanor count of terroristic threats.

The police report said that two men, Dallas Cousins, 22 and Zach Jarvis, 21, were following Revis, and one of the men was recording Revis on his cell phone. Revis turned and grabbed the phone and tried to delete the video. Jarvis tried to get the phone back, but Revis tossed the phone into the road. Revis got into a verbal fight with the two young men, before both ended up on the ground. According to Rich Cimini, a witness, named Nathan Watt, told police that Revis threatened him. 

Watt quoted Revis as saying, "I got more guys coming." The complaint added that Revis "stepped within a foot of his face with an aggressive demeanor on his face, fists clenched, and stated, 'Do you want to be next?'" (Cimini ESPN). 

Cousins and Jarvis ended up in the hospital, and one of them was diagnosed with an orbital floor fracture. 

Revis and his attorney Blaine Jones are painting the picture that Revis was the one assaulted. 

"The attorney said Revis was shoved by one of the men and attempted to walk away. The man who pushed Revis, he said, yelled at him. At that point, Revis knocked the cellphone out of the man's hand, according to Jones.

"It's my understanding that when Darrelle turned around, he wasn't sure whether it was a weapon or a phone," Jones told reporters. "He didn't know. He just knows he left, these guys were saying his name, he turns around and sees an object, and he wasn't sure what it was or whether he was going to get robbed or assaulted or what.
"He feared for his safety.'" (Cimini, ESPN).

Furthermore, there is now a development that Revis may turn himself in to authorities.

If Revis is found guilty of this crime, and if he did aggregate assault, it will be fascinating to see how the NFL handles this. The NFL has been known to botch domestic dispute cases with reckless abandon, and we all know how the league screwed the pooch on Deflategate. This is a bad look for Revis, and in turn the NFL. The NFL has to come down hard on Revis in this situation. Whether it be 4 games, 8 games, or even 10 games, Revis must be suspended by the NFL, if this is all true.

Likewise, what will the Jets do? This is a team that has been long rumored to be interested in cutting Revis next month when free agency begins. He is set to make $15.3 million next season, and there is no way the Jets were going to pay him that money. Once they are presented with all the fact, they have to make a decision on Revis pretty swiftly. Either way, his days in green and white are likely numbered.

If the poor play wasn't enough of an indictment on Revis last season, this incident truly is. The Jets have to make a move and say good bye to Revis. He was a solid player for this team, but an all time player he was not, and all time person, he never was, and never will be. Cut the cord Jets, and move on.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Patriots Stun Falcons, World Win Super Bowl LI


There are no words to describe exactly what happened on Sunday night in Houston. What America witnessed was simply the greatest comeback in NFL history. You can give me the Jets Monday Night Miracle against the Dolphins in 2000, or the Bills comeback against the Houston Oilers in the 1993 Wild Card Game, it doesn't matter -- nothing will top this.

The moment. The stage. It was all there for the New England Patriots and they seized it. The Atlanta Falcons blew it.

There is not much to say from the Falcons perspective. Blowing a 28-3 lead is not only a horrible sin at any point in a season, but to do so in the Super Bowl is one that Dan Quinn and company will never get over. Sure the Falcons are a young football team. The popular refrain is they will be back, but this kind of defeat is one that will hang over this
franchise for years to come. When the Falcons scored their final touchdown of the night to make it a 25 point game, they were 8:31 away from the trophy. Even more painfully, when Julio Jones made a spectacular catch on the sideline that spotted the football at the New England 22-yard line, the Falcons were 4:40 away from winning the Super Bowl.

Then it disappeared.

Matt Ryan was sacked two plays later. The Falcons were then called for holding, and Ryan threw an incompletion on third and 33. Instead of being in field goal range to possibly put Super Bowl LI on ice, the Falcons had to punt back to the Patriots, and the rest, as we know is history.

But really, the turning point of this one happened long before Ryan and the Falcons couldn't get into field goal range. The turning point of this game came when Dante Hightower stripped sacked Ryan of the football on a third and one at the Atlanta 25 with 8:31 to go. Down 28-12, the Patriots recovered the football and had life.

Tom Brady then went to work. After taking a sack on first down, Brady connected on his next four passes, all of the short yardage variety to get the Pats into the end zone. His six-yard completion to Danny Amendola scored New England only its second touchdown of the game with 5:56 to go in the game. James White capped off the drive by diving into the end zone for a two-point conversion to make it 28-20.

Brady of course was just heating up. On the Patriots final drive of the game he was awesome when he needed it the most. He hit Chris Hogan for 16-yards on a critical third and ten at the Patriots own nine-yard line to get the party started. Later he hit Malcolm Mitchell for 11 yards to the 36, and finally connected with Julian Edelman on a miracle completion that moved the ball into Falcons territory. The catch by Edelman rivaled that of David Tyree in this very game nine years ago. Instead of catching the ball on his helmet, Edelman caught the ball on the ankle of a Falcons safety. It took tremendous focus to make the catch, and Edelman did it.

After the ankle catch was reviewed and upheld, Brady hit Amendola for 20 yards to the Atlanta 21-yard line. The comeback was defiantly happening. The only question would be, could the Patriots convert on a two-point conversion. Sure enough James White scored the touchdown that cut the Falcons lead to 28-26, but the key play came when Brady hit Amendola for the two-pointer to tie it up, sending the Super Bowl to overtime for the first time ever.

In OT, Brady toyed with the Falcons. He completed his first five passes of the extra period, including hitting Amendola for 14 yards, Hogan for 18 yards and Amendola for 15-yards to the Atlanta 25. The Falcons defense was gassed. They were huffing and puffing with hands on hips. Mentally they were finished. After New England moved the ball to the two yard line on a questionable pass interference call, White scored on a two-yard scamper to the left. It appeared that White's knee may have touched down at the one yard line before he got over the plain, but the officials called touchdown before any review could take place. Regardless, the Pats were going to score -- there was no stopping them.

Brady set records for passes (62), completions (43) and yards (446) in a Super Bowl game. White was responsible fro 20 points in the game, also a Super Bowl record. New England also set records for first downs in a Super Bowl with 37, and most first downs through the air with 26. The 93 plays the Patriots ran was also a Super Bowl record. More importantly the win gave Tom Brady and Bill Belichick a record five Super Bowl titles.

If one needed to reaffirm the greatness of Brady, look no further than this game. He carried his team when it looked very likely they were going to lose. He was Michael Jordan at the buzzer.

While it won't go down, (and shouldn't go down) as the greatest game in Super Bowl history, it will certainly be remembered as the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. Likewise it will be remembered by Atlanta fans as the greatest choke ever.