Church returns to disabled list
Mets outfielder bothered by symptoms related to concussion
NEW YORK -- For nearly a month and a half, Ryan Church has been immersed in his own head.
One day, he's back hitting and fielding, his post-concussion symptoms a distant memory. Then, on days like Tuesday, he's just exhausted.
Church doesn't want to hurt the team by playing at anything less than 100 percent, and the Mets don't want to continue to deal with the day-to-day spectacle that is Church's changing status.
Church was put on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, retroactive to Sunday, the second time he has been rendered inactive with symptoms related to a concussion suffered on May 20 in Atlanta. Outfielder Nick Evans was brought up from Double-A Binghamton to take Church's spot on the roster.
"We have been in a little bit of a cycle now, a time frame, where you say, 'Hey, look, we see improvement, but we are not seeing quote-unquote improvement that we would like,' " general manager Omar Minaya said. "As time goes on, you say, 'More and more, if you are not 100 percent in this time frame, we may have to start taking things away from you more than we allowed before.'"
A migraine headache forced Church out of Saturday's game against the Phillies in the eighth inning, and he did not play on Sunday or Monday. On Sunday night, Church was told by the team to head back to New York to see a concussion specialist on Monday and get an MRI on his head and neck. Both tests came back negative.
But when Church was re-evaluated on Tuesday, the Mets' team doctor, along with Minaya and Church, determined that it would be best to use the upcoming All-Star break as an opportunity to rest. There is no way of knowing if the headaches were brought on by post-concussion symptoms, Church said, but it is still uncomfortable for him to play with the feeling of his brain "swishing" in his head, which is the discomfort Church said results from a migraine.
"It could be related, it could not be related, we don't know," Church said. "The thing is, I don't feel 100 percent, and, like I said, I can't keep going out there and run myself into the ground. I just feel like I'm hurting this team not being able to do anything."
The recovery process has been a back-and-forth experience for Church, who was originally put on the DL on June 9 to recover from post-concussion syndrome. He returned on June 29 for the last game of the Subway Series vs. the Yankees, going 2-for-4.
Church now hits the DL once more with a .307 average, which would be a career high for the 29-year-old lefty.
"I just can't keep going out there and basically keep making it worse," Church said. "We're taking the right steps now to hopefully correct this."
Jon Blau is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.