Vail has leaped to the front of the list of destinations for New York baseball players this year. Alex Rodriguez went to the ski town to have his hip surgery, and Carlos Delgado consulted with doctors from the same clinic before having his own operation. And, on Tuesday, Carlos Beltran headed to the winter wonderland for an ominous meeting with Dr. Richard Steadman, the surgeon who pioneered knee microfracture surgery.
The decision to visit Vail's Steadman-Hawkins Clinic was Beltran's, although the Mets have no objection to his getting a second opinion. Beltran surely got input from his agent Scott Boras, so it's not surprising he wound up at the same clinic that treated A-Rod's hip injury earlier this year.
The second opinion turned out to be a good one for Beltran and the Mets. Dr. Steadman backed up the initial diagnosis of rest, although he pushed Beltran's potential return date past the All-Star Game. That's not great news for the Mets, perhaps, but it is a lot better than the idea that his career was in jeopardy, as was breathlessly reported Tuesday morning by the New York Post.
Because Beltran had a cortisone shot and kept playing on aching knees, there are going to be questions about the way the Mets handled this injury from the outset. It doesn't help that the team acknowledges the injury got worse because he kept playing.
"He's going to examine everything that was done in New York," Mets assistant GM John Ricco said. "I don't know how far this injury has progressed. The way they've described it, it's a bruise that gets bigger. And if it keeps getting bigger, it could develop into a microfracture and then a fracture of the bone if you keep putting weight on it."
The Mets handled Ryan Church's concussions badly last season, and did extended silly dances with Delgado and Jose Reyes before ultimately placing them on the disabled list this year. That said, Beltran was willing to take the shots and keep playing so it's not something you can lay entirely at the Mets' feet. It's a troubling trend, though, and one you'll surely be hearing more about even if Dr. Steadman returned with good news.