MLB Notes: GM Says Mets Making Changes in Handling Injuries

NEW YORK -- With a bundle of key players on the disabled list, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Friday the team is making some changes to the way it handles injuries.

Alderson is now meeting daily with the training staff, something he hasn't always done in the past. The front office also is communicating often with its "resources" in Port St. Lucie, Florida, at the team's spring training complex.

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Alderson said he's having the meetings "to provide context for the decisions that we have to make from day to day based on information that not only arises that day, but may have been sort of gestating over a period of days."

Alderson also said Friday that bigger changes could still be made, but those "might require a little more in the way of investigation and research that sometimes requires a little time."

New York entered Friday having lost seven straight and was seven games under .500 for the first time since September 2014. Alderson spoke before the Mets opened a seven-game homestand by hosting the Los Angeles Angels.

The general manager labeled the injuries a "contributing factor" in the team's struggles. New York has some of its biggest names on the DL, including ace Noah Syndergaard and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, and those DL stints potentially could have been avoided or abbreviated if handled differently (see full story).

Cubs: Heyward ready to return to lineup
CHICAGO -- Outfielder Jason Heyward is ready to return the Chicago Cubs' lineup.

Heyward expects to play Saturday against the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers after being sidelined for two weeks because of a sore knuckle on his right hand.

He was hurt May 5 against the New York Yankees and placed on the 10-day disabled list three days later. Heyward is hitting .253 with three homers and 17 RBIs.

With Heyward coming back, manager Joe Maddon acknowledged the Cubs have a "very tough" decision to make. Do they send surging rookie Ian Happ back to the minors or someone else?

Happ, the No. 9 overall draft pick in 2015, was 6 for 17 with two homers and four RBIs entering Friday's game. He was called up from Triple-A Iowa on May 13.

Pirates: Taillon upbeat in cancer fight
PITTSBURGH -- Jameson Taillon felt like he was in a movie, as if he was watching somebody else's life change and not his own.

The Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher felt something "odd" in his groin and alerted trainers while on the road earlier this month in Cincinnati. Two days later, there the 25-year-old was getting pulled aside by a doctor and being told there's a chance he has testicular cancer.

"My heart was racing," Taillon said.

Just not for long.

Taillon's grown accustomed to adversity thanks to a career peppered with unforeseen obstacles, from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in 2014 to sports hernia surgery in 2015 that threatened to sidetrack his young career completely. He finally arrived in the majors last summer, and a bout with cancer isn't going to stop him.

"My immediate thought (after the diagnosis) was what next? What can I do to get better?" Taillon said.

The first step was surgery conducted on May 8, a procedure that sounded more frightening in his mind than in reality. He was home by the end of the day and is already back playing catch and doing light cardio while he awaits further blood tests to determine whether there is any cancer remaining in his system.

This is not how he envisioned his first full season in the majors going. He was 2-1 with a 3.31 ERA in his first six starts, pitching with a maturity of a guy who's been around far longer than a few months. Call it the residue of the earlier struggles that delayed his arrival in the big leagues.

"I wasn't going to let this stop me or put me down in the dumps," he said (see full story).

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