It was just a few days ago that Mets announcer Gary Cohen observed that oblique strains, an injury “no one had heard of until a few years ago” seemed to be claiming members of the Amazins’ roster (and those of other clubs) with alarming frequency. And with that in mind, the New York Daily News duo of Michael O’Keefe and Christian Red claim there may be a relationship between said ailment and the widespread use of the dietary supplement Creatine, currently legal in Major League Baseball (and the NFL, NBA and NHL to boot)

More than a dozen players have been sidelined with oblique injuries this season. Yankee star Alex Rodriguez sat out two games last week with a minor oblique injury. His teammate, Curtis Granderson, injured his oblique during spring training. Jason Bay finally returned to the Mets on Thursday after spending the first three weeks of the season on the disabled list with a strained left rib cage. That same day Angel Pagan left the Mets’ game against Houston in the fifth inning after tweaking his oblique while facing Astros pitcher J.A. Happ – who has also missed part of this season with an oblique problem.

“My theory is that drug testing in Major League Baseball is working and people are getting away from using illegal steroids,” Lewis Maharam, the former president of the New York chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine says. “They are moving to legal products such as creatine, but they don’t know how to use it in conjunction with their workouts.”

Creatine is an amino acid that boosts lean muscle mass and strength. Studies show it’s effective for sports like baseball, tennis and golf, activities that require intense but brief bursts of energy, and not so effective for sports that require endurance, such as running and soccer.

Creatine, according to Maharam, adds water molecules to muscle fibers, which causes the fibers to separate.

“This makes for easier muscle tears and slows the repair process, leaving them on injured reserve longer,” Maharam says. “It is because of these side effects that professionals for a long time went away from creatine when they could use anabolics and HGH. Now that testing is stronger, I have seen a trend back toward the safer creatine.”

O’Keefe and Red quote kinesiologist Mackie Shllstone as claiming “trainers are pushing athletes to overdevelop the front of their body while they ignore the posterior of the body.” So if nothing else, we might have to reassess the overall conditioning of Bartolo Colon.