Jockbeat: Carlos Beltran Has His Own Doctor? What a Shock!

Has the New York press gotten so accustomed to Mets bad news that they put a negative slant on everything? For instance, John Harper's take in today's Daily News on Carlos Beltran's decision to have knee surgery. ("Sudden surgery for Carlos Beltran another shock to New York Mets system")

The local baseball media is in a tizzy because Beltran caught the team by surprise when he had his surgery in Colorado yesterday instead of waiting until physicians chosen by the Mets front office could examine him. "Obviously," writes Harper, "this speaks to a lack of trust in the Mets' medical staff on Beltran's part, no doubt the result of all the problems in diagnosing and treating injuries last season. But it also speaks to a state of dysfunction that seems to define the Mets these days.

"Who's in charge here anyway?"

We can tell you who's in charge, John. In any and all situations, the player is in charge.

Nearly every major league ballplayer who makes more than minimum scale has his own private physician with a staff of specialists at his calling. Beltran waited until the last minute to be certain surgery was absolutely necessary in the opinion of his medical experts and then went ahead. There wasn't any reason for him to wait a day longer; that would simply delay his return to the Mets lineup. Exactly what would be the point of waiting for the Mets to fly someone to Colorado for a second opinion? If the diagnosis were the same, then two or three valuable days would have been lost, and if the team doctor's official decision clashed with that of Beltran's personal surgeon, whose recommendation was he supposed to take?

Harper apparently thinks that the Mets have erred in "the way the organization allowed players to handle injury situations." But the organization has no authority in such matter.

It's an unlucky break for both Beltran and the Mets that Carlos went under the knife now rather than, say, a month ago. But that's only because the Mets' best outfielder was waiting until he was sure there were no other options. More tests wouldn't have changed his knee injury. Beltran did what was best for him, and it will ultimately prove to be what was best for the Mets, even if he misses a week or even a month.


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