PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — When J.D. Davis dove for a ball at third base on Tuesday, he felt a pain that he described as “a jam.” He did not know how to react because he had never experienced anything like it. He wanted to roll over, but did not want to further injure his left shoulder. He remained on the ground for a few minutes.
It was an unnerving scene — for Davis, his teammates, Mets brass and the fanbase.
But it now doesn’t seem as bad as it once looked.
On Wednesday, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said the MRI on Davis’ left shoulder “didn’t show a ton of inflammation, which is good, and it really didn’t show any new structural damage to his shoulder.” The Mets are calling it a “jammed left shoulder.”
“Definitely when you’re recommended an MRI, it’s a little scary just for the sake that you’re wishing there’s no structural damage or anything serious,” said Davis, who is confident he’ll be ready for opening day. “But yeah, shoulders can be tricky and everything.”
Davis said he feels “all right, just a little achy, a little sore.” That is to be expected, but it’s encouraging that he has not experienced any sharp pains and has full range of motion in his shoulder.
“We’re going to see how his symptoms progress here over the course of the next couple days, get him moving and hopefully be able to have a better handle after the next week in terms of what his physical activity will be able to do,” Van Wagenen said.
When Davis remained on the ground, you perhaps thought this could have been a long-term injury. Tigers doctors checked out Davis and, according to reporters on the scene, did not believe he had suffered any structural damage.
Still, Wednesday’s MRI needed to confirm that. Van Wagenen said that fact that the MRI did not show much inflammation was a positive. The Mets can perhaps exhale.
"First impression, yeah," manager Luis Rojas said when asked if he thought Davis' injury was worse than it now appears. "And then getting there, he’s still there (on the ground) when I got to third. As he got up progressively, (he seemed) better and better. Probably something he’s never felt before as far as hitting the ground like that."
The MRI, however, revealed a previous labrum tear. Van Wagenen said that an MRI often will show old damage to players “that have some experience or mileage to them.” But Davis did not experience any symptoms or pain before jamming his shoulder on Tuesday, which is why all parties are not concerned.
“Speaking to the doctor, he said with our line of work — or just in general — that a labrum acts like a meniscus in a way,” Davis said. “Over time, we all get wear and tear. I was never aware of it and had no symptoms of it, which is a relief, because when he said I had a little tear, he was like, ‘It looks like an old injury.’ So I was instantly relieved about it.”
For now, there is inflammation and soreness in the shoulder. It feels weak. Again, that is to be expected.
Davis began his rehab on Wednesday. His progress will dictate the next steps and the Mets will continue to evaluate him to see when he might be able to perform baseball activities.
Last season, Davis had a breakout campaign as he hit .307 with 22 home runs and 57 RBI. Originally a third baseman, he is expected to play more left field this season because Jeff McNeil will be starting at third.
Davis — and the Mets — suffered a scare on Tuesday, but the feeling is the outcome could have been much worse.
“Sounds like we’re in a pretty good spot,” Van Wagenen said.