Monday, June 9, 2008

The Next Paul ONeill Has Become The Next Wayne Chrebet

The monkeys were among those complaining the loudest about the Lastings Milledge trade. We were upset to give up a player with such potential and bat speed you couldn't teach for a light hitting defensive catcher a platoon outfielder. The first two months of the year, Church made believers out of the monkeys. He was the Mets best player hitting 9 homers, driving in 32 runs and hitting .311 prior to his latest injury. What's more he added toughness and hard-nosed play to a group that was severely lacking in those categories. The initially ridiculous notion that he could be our Paul Oneill started to seem not so ridiculous. A player that would actually blossom when finally given the chance to play full-time on the game's biggest stage.

Church was injured May 20 at Atlanta. He was accidentally kneed in the head by Atlanta Braves shortstop Yunel Escobar while trying to break up a game-ending double play. The Mets mismanaged the injury putting him on a plane to Colorado where the altitude made things worse for Church. In retrospect, it is quite clear he belonged on a flight to NY to be further examined. The Mets record with medical diagnosis the last few years would rival the Kansas City Royals' record with baseball games the last few years.

The Mets used him as a pinch hitter a few times before shutting him down for a bit. After returning from the injury he went just 2-for-11 with six strikeouts and went 0-for-4 and fanned three times when he last started Thursday night in San Diego. The Mets then shut him down the rest of the weekend. As they lost 3 one-run games in a row, it is certainly reasonable to think a healthy Church would have made an impact that might have helped win at least one of those games.

The Mets finally put him on the DL nearly a month later than they should have. Since it is Church's second concussion, there is room for mild concern. Most likely, rest will do him good and all will be fine. But NY fans remember how concussions finally took out the tough and hard-nosed receiver Wayne Chrebet. The monkeys will be praying for Church.

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