Add Asdrubal Cabrera to the list of known Mets injuries to monitor.
The second baseman left the Mets’ 2-0 win over the Yankees on Sunday after three innings with a tight left hamstring. As the rest of the team headed to Atlanta early Monday morning, Cabrera stayed in New York to get checked out later in the day.
Manager Mickey Callaway said he does not believe this will keep Cabrera out. “It’s not a DL move. We’re going to see how he comes in [Monday],” Callaway said. “He felt like he could have kept on going, but he didn’t want it to get worse. We’re going to check on him [Monday] and make that determination.”
Cabrera appeared to come up lame on a first-inning groundout to Luis Severino. He slipped on his way out of the batter’s box, grabbed at the back of his left leg and was the last player to take the field in the top of the second. Cabrera again was slow up the line in the third on a routine grounder to second.
Jose Reyes then replaced Cabrera at second, finishing 1-for-2 and committing two errors on the same play in the eighth. His two-out single in the fifth preceded Todd Frazier’s home run.
If Cabrera has to miss time, Luis Guillorme and Reyes are the most likely options.
Far and away the Mets’ best hitter for the first quarter of the season, Cabrera has struggled of late. He is 4-for-37 (.108) with two extra-base hits and 10 strikeouts (to two walks) in 10 games since his two-homer game in Atlanta on May 29.
During a riff on managing injuries, GM Sandy Alderson said May 31 that Cabrera had been playing hurt. “There’s a guy who’s playing,” Alderson said. “He’s not 100 percent. He’s playing. Oh my God, he needs a day off, he needs a week off. We have to put him on the disabled list. He’s playing. Will we lose him at some point? Maybe. Right now, we want to keep putting a winning team on the field.”
Cabrera has played in 61 of 62 games. He missed a game April 25 with a sore right hamstring.
The Mets have had enough of Adrian Gonzalez.
In a series of roster moves announced late Sunday night as the team headed to the airport for a 10-game road trip, they released the first baseman, who was batting .237, and called up first baseman Dominic Smith from Triple-A Las Vegas. They added utilityman Ty Kelly from Las Vegas and designated catcher Jose Lobaton for assignment. Neither Gonzalez nor Mets officials were available for comment.
The roster shakeup came immediately after the Mets snapped an eight-game losing streak by beating the Yankees in a contest marked by the same trends that have bogged them down for weeks: tremendous starting pitching, weak hitting. Mets starting pitchers have a 2.34 ERA in the past 21 games but the team is 6-15 in that stretch. The Mets have scored eight runs in their past 68 innings.
Gonzalez, 36, hardly was the reason for the poor offense, but he was a part of it. He was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts Sunday, lowering his OPS to .672. He had a .226/.278/.298 slash line in 27 games since a two-homer game in Cincinnati last month.
Gonzalez has 2,050 hits and 317 home runs in 15 major-league seasons with five teams.
His release marks the beginning of Smith’s next shot to prove himself as the Mets’ first baseman of the future. Smith, who last month said he was down to 215 pounds (from 250 at the end of last season), has had a poor year with Las Vegas, including a .260/.343/.370 slash line. He hit two home runs in 56 games.
Last year, Smith made his major-league debut in August and hit .198 with a .262 on-base percentage and .395 slugging percentage in 49 games.
The Kelly/Lobaton exchange registers as a subtler change. Lobaton was a little-used bench bat — the Mets said carrying a third catcher would allow them to use Kevin Plawecki and Devin Mesoraco off the bench — and had a .152/.264/.239 slash line in two stints (19 games with the Mets).
Kelly, a Met in 2016 and for one game in 2017, has been strong for Las Vegas this year, hitting .262 with a .346 on-base percentage and .450 slugging percentage. He had six homers and 29 RBIs in 60 games, seeing time at all three outfield spots plus second, third and shortstop.
Kelly is perhaps the Mets’ No. 2 pinch-hitting option behind Jose Bautista and could see time at second if Cabrera is sidelined.
Robert Gsellman’s transition to reliever has quietly taken a traditional step forward the past couple of weeks. The Mets prefer to use him in one-inning outings, and entering Sunday, he had pitched one inning or less in each of his past six appearances.
Callaway cited a desire to have Gsellman (2.95 ERA) available more often and said his increased effectiveness in shorter outings is another reason for the usage change. “It’s definitely not a health issue,” Callaway said. “It’s more us having a better pen on a consistent basis.”
Callaway made an exception Sunday, when Gsellman pitched two scoreless innings in a 2-0 win over the Yankees. Gsellman worked around Jose Reyes’ two errors and a two-on, one-out jam in the eighth.
“When a guy comes down the steps and says ‘I’ve got it,’ you’ve got to let him have it,” Callaway said of using Gsellman for a second inning. “He wanted it and he went out and got the job done.”
Gsellman, a starter by trade who moved to the bullpen in spring training when the rotation appeared more than full, became a multi-inning weapon in April, posting a 1.80 ERA. He pitched more than one inning 10 times in his first 23 games.
Those longer outings, however, require more rest. The Mets’ preference is for him to be available more days, even if it means using more relievers to get through a given game. Bullpen depth is particularly important as the Mets try to get by without Jeurys Familia (sore right shoulder) and Seth Lugo (spot start Sunday against the Yankees).
“That’s one of the things we were trying to balance early with having he and Lugo in the bullpen,” Callaway said. “When you pitch them, you want to use them multiple innings. Well, once you do that, then they need several days down sometimes. Then your bullpen becomes thin for a few days after you pitch them.”
Said the ever-relaxed Gsellman: “Just go with the role. Whatever the manager says.”
He noted that there is more to multi-inning outings than mere out totals. “When you go multiple innings, you feel it a little more,” he said. “It’s more pitches and you’re sitting down, so you have to re-warm up, plus you count the warmup pitches. So you’re a little more sore.”
Familia and Wilmer Flores will head to Port St. Lucie but are expected to return within the next week and a half . . . David Wright update: Add hitting off a tee to his list of baseball activities, which include playing catch and fielding grounders. He took 20 swings Sunday . . . The Mets will skip Jason Vargas’ start against the Braves, opting to go with Zack Wheeler on Tuesday and Jacob deGrom on Wednesday. That lines up Vargas to pitch in Arizona.