Carlos Beltran, Mets Squabble Over Surgery; Are Mets Doctors Too Keen to Clear Hurt Players?

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Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran is saying that before he had surgery on his knee this week, he got the okay from Mets GM Omar Minaya. He says via his agent Scott Boras that he spoke to Minaya on Tuesday, and that Minaya "did not ask me to wait, or to get another doctor's opinion. He just wished me well." He also said his doctor, Richard Steadman, "consulted with the Mets' doctor -- Dr. Altchek -- about my knee. Dr. Altchek agreed with Dr. Steadman's diagnosis that I needed surgery, and said he would relay his approval to Mets management."

Beltran says he is "totally surprised by the reaction" to his surgery, referring to assistant GM John Ricco's statement that "there is an issue regarding the process that was followed regarding the surgery," and that the Mets were "disappointed" with Beltran's choice.

Ricco also said, in oddly vague language, that the Mets "were under the impression that we had requested he wait and let us talk and get the information... the next thing we found out, he had already had the surgery."

Subway Squawkers says this reflects a long-standing, under-cautious medical approach on the team that "allowed Mike DeJean to pitch with a broken leg" in 2004 and other poor decisions that led to Mets playing hurt and worsening their injuries. "Based on what has currently been made public," they say, "it is hard to criticize Beltran for bypassing the troubled Mets' medical staff and doing what he feels he needs to do to get back to full strength as soon as possible."

The Mets do seem to hurt a lot of players; at one point last year they had 13 men on the DL, and it is suggested that Jose Reyes' diagnosis in 2009 was "botched," leading to a lengthy absence.

Come to think of it, Billy Wagner was not pitching so hot in 2008, and no one figured out he needed Tommy John surgery till September.

Beltran was briefly on the DL in June, and when he came off it, Mets Today said at the time, he was "still feeling soreness in his knee, and no one but he knows for certain if it still is an issue."

Meanwhile there's a rumor going around that the Mets are trying to get free agent Jerry Hairston Jr., a veteran utility player who could fill in for Beltran or the still-questionable Reyes.

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