DENVER -- Bobby Parnell pitched one scoreless inning Monday in the first game of a Minor League rehab assignment with Class A St. Lucie, walking a batter and throwing 12 pitches. Though Mets manager Terry Collins said Parnell could rejoin the Mets as soon as this week, he first wants to see the right-hander pitch in a cooler climate before activating him.
"Darn right," Collins said, "because if that finger is affected by the cold weather, that's an issue."
Parnell's next assignment, then, should come at Triple-A Buffalo, with the aim of testing the right-hander's circulation. Hitting the disabled list on April 21 with numbness in his right hand, Parnell pitched from 94-97 mph last weekend in extended spring training.
Joining him in Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Monday was fellow right-handed reliever Pedro Beato, who recently landed on the DL with right elbow tendinitis and is set to begin his rehab.
Parnell's activation may also hinge upon the performance of Mike O'Connor, who has recently given Collins a second left-handed option out of the bullpen. One of the last pitchers cut in Spring Training, O'Connor has not allowed a baserunner over 2 2/3 innings.
Young gets bad news about shoulder
DENVER -- Forget his next start. Chris Young's season, and quite possibly his career, may be in jeopardy.
Mets physician Dr. David Altchek read Young's MRI on Monday and diagnosed him with a re-tear of the anterior capsule in his right shoulder, the same injury that has kept Johan Santana sidelined for the past eight months.
"Not the news we were looking for," was how assistant general manager John Ricco classified it.
Though Ricco was careful not to rule Young out for a return this season, the nature of the injury does not bode well for his future. Santana opted for surgery and needed five months of rehabilitation before he could even begin throwing a baseball off flat ground. Others around the game, including Mark Prior and Chien-Ming Wang, have not even fared that well recovering from similar shoulder damage.
Suffering an identical injury last April, Young opted for rehabilitation over surgery and missed five months. Now, he again must choose between surgery or rehab, knowing either option will almost certainly force him to miss most, if not all, of the 2011 season.
Given his age -- Young turns 32 later this month -- and extensive list of shoulder problems over the past four years, he may have trouble ever again finding a Major League contract as lucrative as the one the Mets offered last winter. His $1.1 million deal with the Mets expires after this season, with Young unlikely to vest any of the included $3.4 million in incentives.
Young was a late scratch from his scheduled Saturday start after feeling tightness in the back of his shoulder, undergoing an MRI later that weekend. He spent time on the disabled list with right biceps tendinitis earlier this season, despite never throwing more than 108 pitches in any of his four starts.
When healthy, he was the team's best pitcher, going 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA, including seven shutout innings in Philadelphia in what may have been his final start as a Met.
"I've got to be honest: I don't know how we can be more protective," manager Terry Collins said. "We have done the best we could to make sure that these guys have gotten proper rest, watched their pitch counts, and done as good a job as possible to try to avoid this."
Wright dealing with back pain
DENVER -- Most Mets find it difficult to keep their injuries hidden from the public. David Wright managed to do it for nearly a month.
Wright has been playing through back pain for three full weeks, the third baseman admitted Monday, following an April 19 diving tag play at third base.
"I just felt some discomfort in my back," Wright said, downplaying the injury. "There's a difference between being banged up and being hurt."
Wright has been receiving regular treatment for his back ever since lunging to tag Astros outfielder Carlos Lee in the third inning of an April 19 game at Citi Field. He has not missed a game since, with his production remaining relatively steady -- Wright hit .250 with two home runs prior to the play at third base and has hit .230 with three home runs since, with comparable on-base and slugging percentages.
But Collins believes the back issue has prevented Wright from replicating his career norms at this point in the season.
"I do believe it has something to do with it, yes," Collins said. "But David Wright will never make it as an excuse. He never has. He even hasn't to me when I've asked him about it. It's not an issue to him, but I happen to think there's got to be something, because this guy's just too good a hitter to run through the streak he's going through."
Mejia going forward with Tommy John surgery
DENVER -- As expected, top Mets pitching prospect Jenrry Mejia has opted for Tommy John surgery following a meeting with orthopedist Dr. James Andrews.
No date has been set for Mejia's surgery, which should sideline him from between 12 to 18 months.
"It's a case-by-case basis with each individual, but obviously there's an injury history now and that's the range where these have been," Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said. "But each guy is a unique case."
Mejia, who made his Major League debut as a 21-year-old last season, was 1-2 with a 2.86 ERA at Triple-A Buffalo before tearing the MCL in his right elbow.
Citi Field to sell soccer tickets starting Tuesday
DENVER -- Tickets for the June 7 soccer match between the national teams of Ecuador and Greece go on sale Tuesday at 9 a.m. ET at the Jackie Robinson Rotunda ticket windows at Citi Field, the Mets announced Monday.
Tickets for the inaugural match at Citi Field are already on sale online at 507TIXX.com and by phone at 718-507-TIXX.
Mets manager Terry Collins made sure to speak with Jason Bay before dropping the slumping outfielder to sixth in the lineup. Bay entered Monday's play with a .129 average over his last eight games, but Collins said he swapped Bay and Ike Davis mainly to break up the lefties in New York's lineup.
Collins may ask R.A. Dickey to skip his routine bullpen session Tuesday, making Dickey available out of the bullpen in Colorado if necessary.
Several Mets were shocked Monday upon hearing shortstop Troy Tulowitzki's recent numbers. After reaching base in 14 of 20 plate appearances and homering in all four games of a Colorado sweep in mid-April, the Rockies shortstop has since hit .182 with one home run in 83 plate appearances.