DENVER — What does one of the National League’s offense leaders think of potentially competing in the Home Run Derby?
Brandon Nimmo isn’t sure. But he’s interested.
“I’m intrigued by it for sure,” Nimmo said. “It would be a really cool experience. There will be other factors, how I’m feeling at that point. So much can happen in a month. I think it’s going to go more into how I’m feeling, but heck, it’s an honor to even be asked that question.”
Nimmo hasn’t heard [yet] from MLB about the possibility; the league usually enlists folks for the Derby in early July after All-Star rosters are announced.
But the question is a relevant one as Nimmo, amid his All-Star-caliber first half, reached enough plate appearances this week to qualify for the league leader boards. Nimmo finished the Mets’ 10-game road trip third in the NL in slugging percentage (.574) and OPS (.977). The only batters ahead of him are Colorado’s Nolan Arenado, who passed him in both categories with a big day Thursday against the Mets, and Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman. Nimmo is also tied with Arenado for third in OBP at .403.
Nimmo has found his pop, too, hitting 12 homers, doubling his previous career total. His 10 dingers since May 23 are one shy of most in the majors.
For the Derby, Nimmo said he’d consult several parties — the Mets, his family, past participants — in deciding whether to participate, if he’s wanted.
And if he’s wanted, well, he thinks that would be pretty cool.
“I would definitely get a lot of perspective,” Nimmo said. “But I’m intrigued by it.”
Sewald, Flexen optioned
The Mets optioned righthanders Paul Sewald and Chris Flexen to Triple-A Las Vegas. Corresponding moves will be announced Friday. The Mets’ 40-man roster is full, but they can open spots by placing AJ Ramos and perhaps minor-league reliever Jamie Callahan on the 60-day disabled list.
Sewald, in his second major-league season, had 1.98 ERA in April but 6.40 ERA since.
Flexen spent three days with the major-league team this time, pitching one-third of an inning Thursday.
With Jose Bautista and first baseman Dominic Smith splitting time in leftfield in Jay Bruce’s absence, it’s possible the Mets opt to add another outfielder/utility player.
Bruce begins rehab
Thursday brought a bit more clarity regarding Bruce’s strained right hip, which Callaway said is “not that serious.”
“It’s not anything that’s going to be a long, long time — hopefully,” Callaway said. “It was serious enough to put him on the DL obviously, get him an MRI, he needs to take a few days. Hopefully it’ll resolve itself soon.
“They started him on some meds, just to get rid of the inflammation and things like that.”
Callaway was looking to give Asdrubal Cabrera a day off soon, and the second baseman landing hard on his left elbow during a caught-stealing play Wednesday night made Thursday a good choice. Cabrera has dealt with hamstring issues in addition to banging his elbow. “He plays through so much, there comes a time where he might need a couple of days off in a week just to get him to where he needs to be,” Callaway said . . . The Mets are hoping Yoenis Cespedes (strained right hip) will progress to running in the next few days, Callaway said.