Brandon Nimmo was a late scratch from the Mets’ lineup Tuesday night against the Nationals because of a stiff neck, another seemingly minor issue in a series of them that has resulted in a choppy 2019 for the 26-year-old outfielder.
The Mets fear this one could be more serious. Last month in Philadelphia, Nimmo came out of a game in the first inning — and missed the next two — because he couldn’t turn his head.
That discomfort never completely went away. Nimmo is scheduled for an MRI Wednesday.
“Basically, we never got rid of that last one,” Nimmo said Tuesday night. “It’s been going on and off since Philadelphia. Now, since it’s been going so long and it finally came to a head today where I couldn’t play, we need to get it looked at.
“Just take a look, see if there’s anything we can see. We want to take a look at that and there’s some other opinions on what it might be. We’ll try to come up with an answer.”
Nimmo missed time in spring training because of a sore right shoulder and a stomach virus. In early April, he came out of a game in Miami after getting hit on the hand by a pitch, but he didn’t miss any starts.
Amid all the stops and starts, Nimmo has struggled to find the sort of offensive success he had during his breakout 2018, when he hit .263 with a .404 OBP and .483 slugging percentage.
Nimmo had a .241/.388/.463 slash line when the neck stiffness first occurred. Since then, Nimmo is slashing .171/.312/.224.
Manager Mickey Callaway said Nimmo, who did not get into the game, was available only to bunt or run in the Mets’ 6-5 win against the Nationals. Nimmo took batting practice to see how his neck fared, but “It wasn’t going to happen,” Callaway said.
For the first time since suffering a concussion last week, Michael Conforto exercised Monday, riding a stationary bike. He remains symptom-free, but given the unpredictable nature of concussions, the Mets can’t predict when he’ll be back.
“You can’t even speculate because we have no control over it really,” Callaway said.
During his news conference Monday, during which he announced that Callaway would not be fired, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said the Mets would “double down with additional resources” to help the team succeed on the field.
It’s not clear what those resources are, though. Asked about it Tuesday, Callaway spoke only in general terms.
“I don’t think it’s any one thing. I think what he meant by that was continue to give us every resource possible to succeed,” Callaway said, citing an article a Mets higher-up sent him about “skilled practice.” “You implement different things as you learn about them, and I think that’s what he was talking about. He’s going to always make available to us every possible resource that we feel could help us going in a better direction.”
Any team’s greatest resource is, of course, money. The Mets have shown no inclination to signing Dallas Keuchel or Craig Kimbrel, who are both still free agents.
The Mets offered no update Tuesday on Yoenis Cespedes, who saw doctors Monday about the multiple right ankle fractures he sustained over the weekend in what Van Wagenen called a “violent fall” at his Florida ranch. They have to wait for the considerable swelling to subside before deciding on if and when Cespedes will need surgery … After tossing seven no-hit innings for Double-A Binghamton on Monday, lefthander Anthony Kay, a Ward Melville alumnus, has a 1.07 ERA. His .130 opponents’ batting average is second lowest in all of the minors, his 0.77 WHIP seventh lowest … The Mets held pitchers’ fielding practice — frequently the bane of their professional existence — four hours before first pitch Tuesday. Although PFPs are usually reserved for spring training, the Mets try to mix it in a few times per season to try to keep sharp. “Can I go about my day now?” one pitcher said afterward. And another: “Do we have to come out for stretch, too?” … Lefthander Jason Vargas (left hamstring strain) in penciled in to return from the injured list Saturday against the Tigers.