There was one tweet in particular on the Mets' official Twitter account that caught my eye. Perhaps it'll catch yours too:
Injury Updates: Tim Byrdak has a sore left left knee and Kirk Nieuwenhuis has an injury to his right oblique.
— New York Mets (@Mets) March 11, 2012
Tim Byrdak's injury is understandable. After all, he's been channeling the ghost of Hulk Hogan despite the fact that Hogan is still very much alive. That in itself could give him a sore left knee. It could also be the fact that he's 38 and knees tends to get sore at that age.
But Byrdak's injury wasn't the part that caught my eye in the Mets' tweet. It was the part featuring the Sultan of Spell Check himself, Kirk Nieuwenhuis. The Mets' young centerfielder is no stranger to injuries, so that's not what got my attention. It was where he got injured. Kirk Nieuwenhuis has an injury to his right oblique.
Watch that bat, Kirk! You might injure your oblique! Crap. Too late. Never mind.
If you've been following the Mets during spring training, you'd notice that obliques and the Mets have not been getting along. First, Scott Hairston went down to an oblique injury, an injury from which he's not progressing. At the same time, David Wright also suffered an injury to his oblique muscle, although some reports are disguising the word "oblique" with "rib cage", which is similar to disguising an ejected manager with a fake mustache and dark sunglasses.
Now Kirk Nieuwenhuis has injured his oblique, thereby preventing him from committing more Nieuwen-heists in center field for the time being. Are oblique injuries like the flu in Mets camp? Can they be passed around from person to person? Or was Digital Domain Park built on top of an old Indian burial ground? It might be neither, as I found this interesting tweet from San Francisco Giants' beat reporter Andrew Baggerly, which he originally posted almost one year ago to the day:
Andres Torres (sore oblique) isn't starting because Bochy doesn't want him swinging from right side yet. He's hitting off a tee.
— Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) March 6, 2011
Andres Torres missed time last year in spring training with a sore oblique. This is the same Andres Torres that is penciled to be the Mets' Opening Day centerfielder. Do you see what I'm getting at here?
Methinks Andres Torres must have something to do with the oblique injuries that are running rampant at Digital Domain Park. Either that or I'm going with the Indian burial ground excuse. Or perhaps Fred Wilpon was right and "we're snakebit, baby". Regardless of what the reasons are for the Mets' slew of injuries before the first week of the Grapefruit League schedule is over, there seems to be a pattern forming here.
The Mets' outlook for the 2012 season wasn't very bright to begin with. They were not expected to compete with the Phillies, Marlins, et al. for the National League East crown. But what started out as a bleak outlook on the season has somehow turned into an oblique outlook, especially for a number of everyday players. The Mets might indeed be snakebitten, and that snake appears to be spraying venom into the obliques of the roster.