Robinson Cano’s ironic injury latest blip in Mets’ farcical drama

And that, to borrow from J. Walter Weatherman in “Arrested Development,” is why you don’t hustle.

Come to think of it, as loyal Twitter follower @seaver_15 suggested to me, that’s also why you don’t expend major resources on a 36-year-old coming off a suspension for illegal performance-enhancing drug usage.

The Mets extended their winning streak Wednesday night to three games with a dramatic, 6-1 victory over the terrible Nationals at Citi Field, with Juan Lagares and new arrival Rajai Davis delivering the key, eighth-inning blows to further wound Washington’s brutal bullpen.

Nevertheless, the contest didn’t pass without piling on more grim humor to the Mets’ already industry-leading total. Robinson Cano, who arguably has faced more scrutiny for his on-field conduct this past week than in any other time during his Hall of Fame career, departed the game in the fourth inning with tightness in his left quad — an injury sustained, fittingly enough, from running hard on a groundout to shortstop that ended the third. He underwent an MRI exam during the game, Mickey Callaway said, and infielder Luis Guillorme’s removal from his game with Triple-A Syracuse increases the likelihood that, on Thursday, Cano will go on the 10-day injured list, which just added another Mets regular Tuesday in Brandon Nimmo.

The Mets: Come for the drama, stay for the farce.

Look, Cano deserved a quasi-benching in Monday night’s series opener for what transpired in Miami last weekend, as the second baseman twice didn’t run hard on grounders that weren’t automatic outs. The Mets at the time were struggling like a typewriter salesperson assigned to Silicon Valley, and Cano, the owner of a lousy .241/.287/.371 slash line, lacked the cachet to forget the number of outs, or to assume a ball went foul, both of which occurred at Marlins Park. Callaway identified these transgressions as one of three reasons for sitting Cano, although Cano said he and his manager never discussed the effort issue.

In the bigger picture, though? We’re going seriously overboard on this issue. Cano’s games-played total — 150 or more in an astounding 11 seasons — reflect his true hustle. Not running hard on obvious outs constitutes playing the odds: How likely are you to reach base safely, and how likely are you to injure yourself from superfluous effort?

As Callaway said at the winter meetings last December, when asked (by me) about Cano’s approach to grounders: “He does it so he can play 155 games, which he’s done every year. He’s smart. He knows the game.”

On Wednesday night, the beleaguered Callaway sang a different tune, saying of Cano’s costly high-gear shift, “I’m sure he was aware that he needs to get going a little bit.”

Cano, never a speedster even in his prime, rolled the dice and lost Wednesday, and now the Mets probably will lose Cano for a while. That they might be better off, especially if the left hamstring tightness that kept Jeff McNeil out of Wednesday’s game isn’t serious and the youngster can take over the keystone, constitutes a separate but equal point.

And that point is … the Cano trade looks worse by the day. Less than an hour after Cano sustained his injury, Jarred Kelenic hit his eighth homer for Single-A West Virginia in the Mariners’ minor league system. Sandy Alderson’s Mets drafted Kelenic sixth overall in last year’s amateur draft, only to see Brodie Van Wagenen’s Mets flip him and pitching prospect Justin Dunn (plus some veterans) to Seattle for Cano, whose contract last through 2023, and closer Edwin Diaz. All together now: Yeesh.

As for Cano, well, if he doesn’t quite get the last laugh, he sure as heck makes a point, one that sure could come in handy for this perception-obsessed franchise: Optics take you only so far. Results carry the day. Let’s see whether the Mets can reproduce more thrilling results, and fewer tributes to irony, like Wednesday’s.

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