The New York Staph Infections

Posted by Corey Seidman, Thu, March 11, 2010 04:16 PM | Comments: 48

When I read these stories about the Mets, I can’t help but imagine their clubhouse as a hospital waiting room, housing a plethora of injured players and damaged egos.

Baseball Prospectus’ 2010 Guide superbly chronologized the almost-inconceivable string of bad luck that has plagued the Mets since the team’s dreadful September of 2007. After Omar Minaya (ranked 26th out of 30 in Sports Illustrated’s latest GM rankings) announced Thursday that shortstop Jose Reyes will likely be unable to suit up on Opening Day, it appears that BP can feel free to add another notch to their timeline.

On March 4, Reyes was removed from the Mets lineup after doctors detected a problem with his physical. He was later diagnosed with an overactive thyroid, a problem that is easily exacerbated by an increase in heart rate. For this reason, doctors advised Reyes to take some time off, in hopes that his elevated thyroid level would go back down.

After excercising Monday and Tuesday, Reyes’ thyroid levels were elevated once again, prompting team doctors to suggest the superstar shortstop stay away from all athletic activity (including working out) for two-to-eight weeks. If Reyes is able to avoid strenuous activity during this period, it is thought that his thyroid levels will normalize.

Reyes’ agent, Peter Greenberg was quoted as saying that, “Jose is obviously a little bit disappointed that it’s going to be a matter of weeks as opposed to days, but it’s a completely, treatable, curable situation,” however, Minaya made sure to add, “there is no medication for this.”

The one thing Greenberg, Minaya, and I have in common is that none of us are doctors, so it is hard for any of us to speculate on a timeframe for such a rare medical occurrence. What I can offer you, however, are the noted symptoms of elevated thyroid levels, garnered from the National Library of Medicine and the Hormone Foundation:

  • Digestive problems that can lead to unwanted weight loss
  • Persistent fatigue, mental and physical weakness
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Sudden mood changes, increased nervousness or irritability
  • Increases in skin sensitivity, especially in hot outdoor locations
  • Sleep deprivation

For a baseball player who so heavily relies on speed and energy, this condition must be very scary. MLB’s grueling schedule could only worsen Reyes’ conditions if he doesn’t take the necessary time off.

It is imperative to note here that, while none of us like the Mets, this isn’t a strained hamstring or stinger we are discussing, it’s a relatively serious medical condition that should not be wished upon our worst enemies. We’re dignified in hoping for more Mets failures, but it is not justifiable to wish for anything but a full recovery for Reyes, a truly dynamic athlete who only adds fuel and excitement to the Phillies-Mets rivalry.

In addition to Reyes’ seeming inability to take the field on Opening Day, it has already been established that Carlos Beltran, following right knee surgery on January 13, will be sidelined for the first month of the 2010 season.

The Mets have a tough April schedule, including three games apiece against the Marlins, Rockies, Cardinals, Braves, and Dodgers, and four against the Cubs. Sixteen of the team’s first twenty-two games will take place at home, but given the dimensions of Citi Field, one wonders how much of an actual advantage will result.

The Phillies and Mets don’t face-off until April 30, the first of a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park. The teams only face each other six times before August 6, but have twelve contests from that point on.

Avatar of Corey Seidman

About Corey Seidman

Corey Seidman has written 210 articles on Phillies Nation.

Corey is Analysis Editor for Phillies Nation and also writes for CSNPhilly.com.

  • Posts: 0 Greg

    That is a shame that such a great baseball player has to deal with this.

    I’d also like to commend you, Corey Seidman, on a very well-written and professional post. It’s nice that you acknowledged that no serious illness should be wished upon our rivals.

  • Posts: 0 John

    As a Mets’ hater, I’m all to thrilled to think they’ll be without Reyes for a while. It’s unfortunate when something like this derails a sports career, Rocco Baldelli is in a similar spot. As a human I can only hope that Reyes gets well and back on the field soon.

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    I’m a Mets hater, but I don’t wish injuries on anyone. While I don’t feel bad for the Mets, I do feel like enough is enough already with these injuries. Then I remember that “health is a skill”, one which the Phillies players possess and the Mets players do not.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    When I first read about Reyes’ situation over this past weekend, of course I thought of the positive in this in that a very good player is now out of one of our rival’s line-ups for awhile.

    But, yeah….I don’t think any of us should wish harm on other players.

    It’s a tough break for the Mets…..tougher for Jose Reyes.

  • Posts: 0 Heather

    Was Minaya misquoted, or was he just being a moron again? There most definitely is medication for hyperthyroid.

  • Posts: 0 Heather

    In fact, having known one or two people diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, Minaya’s statement flies completely in the face of what little I know about the disease. My curiousity piqued, I did a little googling, and this is from WebMD: “Thyroid hormone medicine is the only effective way to treat hypothyroidism.”

    I’m not doctor, and I accept the fact that WebMD is not always 100% reliable, but if Reyes was actually diagnosed with hyperthyroidism (as opposed to merely elevated levels of a hormone), then it seems like rest exclusively isn’t going to take care of the problem.

    Hopefully the whole thing doesn’t end up turning into another soap opera with the Mets’ doctors in the middle of it.

  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    No disrespect Corey to the Mets or Mr. Reyes but, the symptoms you recapped seem to parallel someone taking steroids.

    Lets talk some Phils now. The entire staff today did exceptionally well. Although just Joe did not record a strike out, he blanked the Tigers for 4 innings, Herndon has still not allowed a run & Avery, Flande & Mathieson all pitched superbly.

    Ryan finally knocked in a run, Chase’s average is over .500 – well, it is Spring Training…

  • Posts: 0 Havoc

    I’ve never been one of those guys to wish injuries on the enemy, I think the baseball gods frown on that. Sucks this happened not just because Reyes’ health is in jeopardy, but also I love hating the Mets, and Reyes is my favorite Met to hate.

    Hope he gets his condition taken care of. Wouldn’t be bad advice to consult a few doctors outside of the Mets organization though… just a thought.

  • Posts: 0 Djp1899

    A classy post, Corey. I’m a Mets fan but I do frequent this site because it’s one of the best sources for information I can find.

    Here’s to a quick recovery for Reyes and to a renewed rivalry with the Phils.

  • Posts: 0 Greg

    Djp1899: You Heathen!

    Haha. Only joking.

    I was also impressed by Blanton’s outing, but I was more impressed by the pair of Double Plays started by Placido Polanco.

  • Posts: 0 bureaucratist

    Why all this love for not wishing injury on a rival? It’s not like wishing for Johan Santana to get hit by a bus is going to have anything to do with it actually happening. I see no problem with wishing ill on the Mets; in fact, I don’t see how I could keep myself from it. Actually going Kerrigan on K-Rod’s knee, now that would be a different story …

  • Posts: 0 Havoc

    Damn it Bureaucratist!! Baseball is a superstitious game! Do not offend the baseball gods or they will smite us for our hubris!

  • Posts: 0 WFC010

    I have said it before, but I don’t hate the Mets…unlike the Yankees

    Anyway, I wish Reyes all the best in a quick recovery.

    The Mets have been having so many setbacks, it’s like some sort of tragic opera or play.

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    1. Great post, Corey.

    2. Mets need a new medical staff!

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    You know, this could just as easily be us….let’s be thankful that we don’t have the same string of bad luck going that the Mets have.


    I CAN’T FREAKIN’ WAIT FOR THE REGULAR SEASON TO START!!!!! We’re almost 2 weeks into the Grapefruit games…..the weather is starting to turn…the days are getting longer….

  • Posts: 0 bloodclot

    I despise the Mets, but I want the satisfaction of beating them when they’re healthy and playing their best

    Not like this

  • Posts: 0 Greg

    A W is a W, in my opinion, bloodclot. As long as we’re on top, I’m happy.

  • Posts: 0 WFC010

    I don’t even understand why so many Phillies fans even hate the Mets, since both teams have a lot more in common than either would like to admit.

    This is NOTHING like the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry, since the Red Sox fans actually have a ton of reasons to hate the Yankees, between player stealing and having huge runs of consistent success, while the Red Sox went through long periods of struggling and not having a World Series title for well over 80 years.

    Neither the Phillies or Mets have been particularly successful franchises by contrast, and both have been laughing stocks of the rest of the MLB for long periods of time.

    Face it, we practically WERE what the Mets are right now not that long ago.

  • Posts: 0 George

    Heather: Reyes’ condition is HypERthyroid. The WebMD information you quoted states “hypOthyroid.” There is a huge difference in the two conditions.

    There is a treatment for hyperthyroidism, (a synthetic version of the thyroid hormone called “synthyroid’). Members of my family have been treated for it. I’m not sure about Reye’s condition because I haven’t looked it up, so I won’t comment on Minaya’s statement.

    As for the original post, I think the high heart rate is CAUSED by the condition. It is not “exacerbated” (made more severe). As far as I’ve read, Reyes has never had an elevated heart rate to “exacerbate,” and if he did, I think fans would have heard about it in one of those “human interest” kind of things–you know, those sappy stories chronicling a player’s childhood in an orphanage or his difficulties in obtaining his wooden leg. I’ll assume that Corey Siedman was merely quoting someone else’s article, but still think he should have caught this.

  • Posts: 312 Corey Seidman

    Avatar of Corey Seidman

    An increase in heart rate is a symptom of the condition, the heart rate further increases with strenuous activity, which is a reason Reyes was told to take several weeks off, and why the word “exacerbate” was used.

    As stated previously, I’m no doctor, and if members of your family have been treated for it you have much more experience with hyperthyroid than I do. When it came to the medical aspects of Reyes’ situation, I was merely quoting those who do have knowledge.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    “hypO” …. “hypER” ……

    Who cares. The man is sick and can’t play. It sucks for the Mets with the bad luck thing an all….but the fact that there’s anything even close to a circus in the Mets’ camp right now is good news for the rest of the teams in the division.

    But as I stated earlier….this could just as well be the Phillies. The fact that we’re strong in every way right now….(yes, even in the clubhouse and front office where we don’t have the flair for the dramatic like the Mets do)….is a VERY GOOD THING.

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    I truly feel bad for Reyes and the Mets. Aside from wishing an illness on no one, a healthy rivalry between the Mets and Phils is good for everyone. I hope he can get better quickly.

    Nats (I almost typed Senators)

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    It SHOULD be something like “Senators”….. what kind of name is “Nationals” anyway??

  • Posts: 0 George

    Again, there is some confusion over hyper and hypo. My family has had experience with hypo, which is low thyroid levels. Reyes’ condition is hyper, which is high levels. The conditions are complete opposites. Low thyroid is easily treated and would not interfere much with Reyes’ playing schedule. I cite the differences to indicate that Reyes is not “dogging it” and Mets doctors aren’t the morons some people seem to think.

    The quotes from “those who do have knowledge” aren’t exactly very clear. In one case they’re saying the condition is “exacerbated by an increase in heart rate,” yet further down, a listed symptom is “rapid or irregular heartbeat.” This contradiction is what I was questioning earlier. You just can’t trust journalists’ interpretations.

    One other comment: Someone here said “health is a skill.” He probably thinks that because he had the luck not to be born with a congenital heart condition, diabetes, deformed limbs, or MS. He probably hasn’t contracted cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, or HYPOTHYROIDISM. I hope he doesn’t get any of these conditions, but I also hope he changes his attitude.

  • Posts: 0 Scotch Man

    I hate and I mean HATE Jose Reyes but wish him a speedy recovery. It’s important to have a few hated players on rival reams and nobody does it like him.

  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    I didn’t think Minaya and Manuel would make it to the All-Star break. Now I’d bet they won’t. It’s not their fault that Reyes developed a thyroid issue, but once again, the Mets org is handling the communication poorly. I’m with Dipsy, and take no joy in a medical collapse – which much rather see the Phils/Mets battle for the division on the field.

    The Cardinals/Cubs and Dodgers/Giants rivalries are both as intense as the Yanks/Sox, but not being in the NE, we don’t see it. The Mets/Phils has only been relevant in 2007-8, and is nowhere close to the other 3.

  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    Alright… I’m not a doctor… besides the fact that a.) I’m a strength and conditioning coach and b.) I’ve been around sports my entire life (college football), I’m really not qualified to speculate BUT since this is a blog and not a published tabloid, I will tell you what I’m reading and then what I feel in my gut…

    Wouldn’t wish this upon anyone but from what I’m reading it is treatable. The problem is that having an overactive thyroid means that athletic activity can increase sweat causing dehydration and increase stress on the heart… bad news for a professional that needs to follow a regiment and dangerous. He was actually cleared by Florida doctors and then urged to fly back to NY for additional testing. The treatment for an overactive thyroid is typically to either kill the gland (essentially rendering himself into an underactive thyroid situation, which is treatable with medication) or remove the gland, which is very uncommon. He likely has Graves disease (75% of overactive thyroid cases are caused by Graves disease)… symptoms include muscle fatigue and weakness in muscless (which might explain why his hammy took so long to heal). I’m really not sure whether it’s an over or underactive thyroid (Reyes didn’t know, himself… he said that he thought it was over).

    Now… a hyperactive thyroid is a fairly rare condition (probably even more so for someone that is as healthy and active as Reyes) and it’s more common in women. They’ve been pretty quick to point out that it’s not linked to HGH/steroids. Again, I have no medical background but I see a correlation between steroid use and irregular thyroid issues. The symptoms, the causes… when you’re cycling and taking things to stay ahead of the curve, you’re always risking a hormonal imbalance. I don’t know… it just seems like there could be correlation between steroid use (and all the things that come with it) and thyroid issues.

  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    Not beining the medical field – PEDs was my first thought – more so HGH (hormone imbalance screwing with other glands?). By sitting for 2-8 weeks, will anything actually happen, or is this more of the Mets med staff hoping for a miracle cure? If it doesn’t go away on it’s own, what are the longer term implicaitons to Reyes? I would imagine killing/removing his thyroid is goign to play havoc on his metabolism – maybe not a huge deal for an accoutant, but sounds pretty detrimental to a pro athlete – especially one that relies on speed.

  • Posts: 0 Jeff of Nova

    Living down here in Washington, everyone asks the same question unless you are a Nats fan, we all wish it was Senators.



    Not a blip on my radar!

    Go Phils.

  • Posts: 0 Heather

    This comment is directed to Chuck: I read the original comment of “health is a skill” and I don’t think the guy meant what you’re taking it to mean. Sure, random things can happen out of the blue. Sometimes things happen that nobody could have prepared for. On the other hand, an organization can sign a lot of older free agents and/or folks with injury histories. These folks tend to get hurt more often than younger players with no injury histories. I would say the Mets have more of these players than a lot of other organizations. Health is something you can play the percentages on, which the Mets don’t. Maybe the Reyes’ situation is nobody’s fault, but the organization as a whole has not made getting younger players with no injury history a priority. Heck, see this offseason where they signed Bay. Great player, but if one of his knees goes out in the next year or two, should we be suprised?

    I think that’s what the OP was saying. Signing younger players with little injury history is a skill, one that the Mets don’t seem to be too good at. Just my $.02.

  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    They’re running more tests… once they figure out the specifics, they’ll develop a treatment. I mean, it could be cancer… doesn’t sound like it is but it could be. They need to get their arms around it and then treat it. I expect he’ll start treatment as soon as they know more… it should take about a month to get it regulated (likely killing the gland and subsequent medication). I think that the medication will be key… getting the hormone levels right. If they can do that, I don’t see why it would be anythign too detrimental.

  • Posts: 0 lombardkyle

    great post! i love the phils and hate the mets more than most, and want nothing more than another WS and mets collapse, but i hope reyes is alright

  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    Nevermind… apparently, taking “T3 and T4″ is the new thing for body builders. T3 and T4 are the thyroid hormones… taking these hormones could cause hyperthyroidism.

    What’s that I smell?

  • Posts: 0 mikemike

    reading the comments make me sick. the mets fans have so much more class than phillies fans

  • Posts: 0 George

    Heather, once again I beg to differ. The comment was “health is a skill,” not “choosing healthy players is a skill.” Reyes is young. Beltran isn’t particularly old. Santana isn’t old. Health is still mostly a matter of “random things.”

    I’ll grant that training regimens can help alleviate muscle pulls, and generally help heart health and respiration, but nothing keeps organs from failing, nothing prevents arthritis, and it’s not always possible to know all conditions in advance. Health is not a skill, nor is choosing the healthy. There is much debate about Jason Bay’s knees and it might prove problematic. It might not. But Reyes was healthy, Beltran was healthy, and Santana was healthy. You just can’t know, so no skill is involved, just intuition and luck.

  • Posts: 0 Phan in ATL

    Anyone that thinks Mets fans have more class than Philly fans need to take a hike. Both sets of fans are generally diehard, knowledgable fans. Sure, you have some jacka$$es on both sides, but all in all the only difference is Philly fans are lovin life right now while Mets fans are looking forward to another 90 loss season while trying to hold off the Nats for 4th place.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Because you’re the epitome of “class”, mikemike??

    Give me a break!!

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    I disagree to a point. If someone takes better care of themselves….then they have a better chance, statistically, to he in better health. That’s not “luck”. It would fall into the “skill” category.

    BUT…there are no guarantees…and that’s where luck and intuition and fate and karma plays a role.

  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    I think the med staff has something to do with it also. Over the past several years, the Mets have tried to get guys to play through injuries (Reyes, Beltran, Alou), then once it progressed to something more serious, hoped rest would miraculously solve the issue. A lot of it is luck, but they seem to be relectant to listen to the players, and address the issue when needed.

  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    I either have to get my keyboard fixed, or start using spell check.

  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    Nice reasoned post. I also do not hate the Mets. I have hated the Yankees for over 50 years – I was born a Dodger fan. Every day there are two things that can make me smile – Phils win, Yanks lose. Oh yes, one more thing makes me smile – my phone which plays Harry’s 2008 World Champions of Baseball call every time I get a call!

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    I have that ringtone for notifying me of a voicemail!! Wish I could find one of Franske’s radio call of J-Roll’s double in the NLCS last year…

  • Posts: 0 RichieAllen

    Cant wait till opening day!

  • Posts: 0 Heather

    George, your argument seems to be that no injury can possibly be forseen, which is simply untrue. What if I had a baseball team, and my starting rotation was Sheets, Wong, Smoltz, and Martinez? Two guys with serious injury history and two older guys who have a good chance of breaking down/getting tired. It doesn’t take a genius to see that this is a BAD rotation due to the very high probability of one or even all four of those guys breaking down. Conversely, picking guys who are all healthy, younger, with no injury history means that there is a greater CHANCE that those guys continue the season healthy.

    A person most certainly can pick players with a greater chance of staying healthy and I would most certainly say that is a skill.

  • Posts: 0 George

    Where did I say that no injury can be foreseen?

    My point is not that all injuries can’t be foreseen, but some of them just happen. Many of the Mets’ injured players were young and healthy when signed. You can’t predict thyroid problems, or that a player such as Jeff Bagwell would have his career shortened by arthritis, or that Scott Mathieson would need Tommy John surgery TWICE.

    Certainly, some signings are risky. Every team makes of few of these, even the Phils, but no team would be stupid enough to sign your imbecilic example of a rotation, Heather.

    Everything considered, health, and the selection of healthy players is still largely hit or miss. While it’s possible the Mets don’t pay enough attention to medical reports, it’s more likely that they’ve just been d–ned unlucky.

  • Posts: 0 Heather

    George, we’re just going to have to agree to disagree. Sure, some health problems come from nowhere. Others are forseeable. Just because there is no outcome that is 100% doesn’t mean that certain people aren’t better (or worse) at interpreting the data. That’s why I and others call health evaluation a skill.

  • Posts: 0 Bob79

    Hope you don’t work in the medical field Heather especially as a doctor/nurse/PA.

  • [...] Reyes has been sidelined with an overactive thyroid for much of the Spring and will begin the season on the Disabled List. It has been reported that he [...]

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