By Mike Steffanos
I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Jose Lima. For all of his posturing and mediocre to bad pitching, I thought he was a gamer who would give you all he had. The problem is that he doesn't have anything any more. He hasn't been pitching well in Norfolk -- shoot, he hasn't really pitched well since 1998 and 1999 with the Astros. He's run those 2 good years with a decent one in 2004 in LA and turned them into a major league career that has spanned more than a decade, despite the fact that most of the other years have ranged anywhere from pretty bad to downright atrocious.
In Norfolk this season, he has gone 6-5 with a 4.36 ERA. In 74.1 IP, he has allowed 74 hits and 11 home runs. In his earlier stint with the Mets he pitched to a 8.79 ERA in 3 demoralizing losses. I don't wish him any harm, but I don't wish to see him again. Nothing that he has done merits another chance. I'd rather they took a look at Mike Pelfrey, Henry Owens or even Evan MacLane, and think most fans would agree with me. At least if one of those guys gets torched you can console yourself that there was a future for one of those players. Jose Lima is just a guy with a past. He has charisma and he has heart, but that's all.
If you want to use Lima as mop-up in a game where the team is hopelessly behind, I don't like it, but I won't fight you on it. If, however, Lima starts a game against the Marlins this weekend and gets lit up, it will have a demoralizing effect on the team and on the fans. I understand the Mets can't base their decisions on what the fans want, but in this case, the fans are right. Giving Jose Lima another start for this team benefits no one, not even Lima.
Surfing the Mets: Bannister Update
Adam Rubin, courtesy of an e-mail he received from Brian Bannister, provides a long-awaited update to the rookie's condition. In Bannister's own words, as quoted by Rubin:
My original injury in San Francisco included a partial tear (more severe than a Grade 1) deep in the middle of the hamstring close to the Sciatic Nerve. The original MRI that was done in Atlanta revealed that the hamstring had a Grade 1 strain, which it did, and we rehabbed according to that information.
In my rehab start in Norfolk, while covering first, I felt pain at the tendon at the top of my hamstring. I did not re-injure the original injury. Because the original injury included a partial tear which requires a much longer recovery period than the 3 weeks that had elapsed, it was not keeping up with my other hamstring and this put undue stress on the tendon.
This was actually not a setback, but helped us discover that the original injury included a partial tear deep down in the leg.
Because the partial tear was near the Sciatic Nerve (the large nerve that originates in the lower back), the resulting scar tissue that formed while healing was irritating the nerve and not allowing me to rehab at full capacity. The only way to break up the scar tissue is through anti-inflammatories and deep-tissue massage, and that has been my treatment for the last few weeks.
The scar tissue is now gone, the leg is approaching 100%, and I will begin simulation games and rehab starts in the next two weeks.
My arm has remained in pitching shape throughout this entire process, because it has never bothered me to pitch, just to run. I have also used the time to work on many aspects of my pitching, and have developed two new pitches that are sharper and more consistent.
I hope this clears up any confusion and gives everyone the proper information, because it was a complicated and unique injury. The Mets staff have done an outstanding job in the rehab process, because there were things that only I could feel and that were difficult to diagnose medically. I am now stronger and throwing harder than before because of the intense physical workouts.
I'd be interested in hearing more about the "two new pitches" that Bannister says he has developed, since he already has a fastball, changeup, curveball and cutter. In the spring he threw only a 4-seam fastball, not a 2-seamer that sinks. If he developed a good sinker, or maybe a split-finger, and could more ground balls that would be very helpful to a pitcher that's not a big strikeout guy. With the news that he will begin some simulated games and rehab starts, we should be hearing more about him soon. Having another option for the rotation or even the 'pen would be marvelous, especially if he's not Jose Lima.
Tom Verducci discusses Pedro, his hip, and whether it would be prudent for the Mets just to give him a couple of weeks off.
Getting Paid To Watch: New Excerpt
Bob Sikes has the latest excerpt from his book posted to the blog.