Originally posted on MetsZilla  |  Last updated 3/19/12

Less than one week after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, New York Mets lefty specialist Tim Byrdak told reporters he is happy with his progression thus far and will begin throwing Friday.  While general manager Sandy Alderson called an Opening Day return a “long shot”  for Byrdak, the left hander believes otherwise, saying:

Photo taken by Michael Baron

I’m happy with the progress I made so far. Now it’s just a matter of getting some strength in there, some mobility … and seeing where it takes us. The tentative schedule right now is to start picking up a baseball Friday. I haven’t talked to Dan [Warthen] or TC [Terry Collins] about Opening Day or anything like that. It’s not going to take me much to get ready. It’s how the knee responds. I’ve never, from the get-go, said Opening Day is out of the question, knowing the time frame from what I got when I first went under the knife. It’s a long shot, but it’s a possibility. Six weeks, to me, that’s a little bit too much. Again, it all depends on how the knee reacts. I think that [six weeks] is just a safe precaution that they use. Different guys react differently. There wasn’t a lot of swelling post-op. I’m moving around pretty good right now.”

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Byrdak  had a night to decide whether to undergo surgery or pitch the season with the torn meniscus and wait until after the 2012 season to go under the knife. According to Rubin, the left hander recalled pitching through injury (sports hernia) in 2010 while playing for the Houston Astros; which hampered his performance:

I didn’t have fun. It was a grind every day and I never felt like I was 100 percent. And I didn’t want that feeling here, especially when they told me I could be on a mound in two to three weeks. We decided, ‘Hey, you know what? We have the time now in spring training. Let’s go ahead and get this thing done.’”

In a Twitter conversation with Baltimore Orioles lefty Andrew Loomis, the Bird Man said there is little swelling in his knee:


@AndyLoomis goin good very little swelling so we are going to accelerate things March 16, 2012 11:48 am via Twitter for iPhoneReplyRetweetFavorite @Givemethelefty Tim Byrdak

With no other proven lefty specialist in camp for the Mets this spring, hearing that Byrdak could possible return by Opening Day is very encouraging. In 72 games for the Mets last season, the left hander pitched to a 3.82 earned run average, while holding left handed hitters to a .222 avg and a .604 ops:

 

 

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