Injuries Continue to Hit Mets Hard

The injury bug has hit the Mets hard this season. Pedro Astacio is the latest victim. Astacio will have his damaged right should examined by Dr. Lewis Yocum of the Angels on Monday to determine whether or not he will pitch again this season. If Astacio chooses to undergo surgery, which is expected, his season -- as well as career with the Mets - will most likely be finished.

Rehab from the surgery would last up to six months and Astacio's $7 million contract ends after this season, making it unlikely the Mets would resign him after such major arm surgery.

The right hander began the 2003 season on the disabled list and was put on the 15-Day DL on Sunday. Astacio joins a much-too-large group of Mets who may not play again this season due to injury.

Mo Vaughn is attempting to salvage his career by rehabbing his arthritic left knee, rather than opting for major surgery. But it is said that he will need to surgery just to walk normally, let alone play first base ever again. At age 35, such surgery would spell the end of his career.

Although he is only on the 15-day DL, Mike Piazza's severely strained groin may keep him out of action for longer, possibly even the remainder of the season. Mike began extensive physical therapy rehabilitation in Florida on Wednesday.

Reliever Scott Strickland is slated to undergo Tommy John surgery and will definitely miss the rest of the season, as well as, a good amount of time in 2004, while Grant Roberts, on 60-Day DL, is out indefinitely with biceps tendonitis.

The Mets feel confident that if surgery to repair his torn right labrum is necessary, Astacio will be able to recover fully.

"It's certainly one he's expected to come back from," Steve Phillips told

Pedro was 12-11 with a 4.27 ERA last season. This year, he is 3-2 but his ERA has swelled to 7.36.

Matt Conklin, of, is a frequent contributor to

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