MIAMI — Brandon Nimmo is back — for real this time.
A day after being a removed from the lineup shortly before first pitch, Nimmo batted leadoff and manned centerfield against the Marlins on Tuesday night. He was missing from the Mets’ lineup the previous three games with a left hamstring issue.
"He checked all the boxes to start this game," manager Luis Rojas said. "I’m confident, because our performance staff is confident. That’s the trust level here."
Nimmo, who did not participate in the Mets’ on-field pregame activity, went 1-for-4 with a first-inning single in a 5-4 loss.
Rojas was looking forward to Nimmo’s return in part because the Mets feel like a different team offensively when he is leading them.
"Nimmo’s confidence to take pitches, not to expand early and get deep in counts and just to give guys a pretty good idea of what the pitcher has," he said. "They pretty much throw him everything . . . Everyone feeds off of it, when they see how guys are locating, see how the ball comes out of the pitcher’s hand. It becomes contagious to a lineup."
Negative is positive
Miguel Castro returned from the COVID-19 injured list — after just one day — after testing negative for the disease.
"He has no symptoms right now," Rojas said. "He came in and I asked him every question in the book, and he’s fine. He played catch. He told me he had some sort of fever or he didn’t know what it was. He did the right thing, he called the trainer and the process started."
The process is to isolate and test him, as well as put him on the special IL. When he tested negative — and then his symptoms went away — Castro was free to come back.
There is no minimum stay requirement for the COVID IL, which can be utilized as a precaution even without a positive test.
The Mets demoted Geoff Hartlieb to Triple-A Syracuse to make room for Castro.
Kevin Pillar was the Mets’ winner of the 2021 Heart and Hustle Award, voted on by former players who are in the MLB Players Alumni Association.
It is meant to honor "players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and traditions of the game," according to a release from the MLBPAA.
Pillar’s signature moment in his first season with the Mets was suffering a broken nose when he was hit by a pitch from Atlanta’s Jacob Webb. With a .213/.250/.373 slash line, he is having his worst offense season since 2013, his first taste of the majors.
Michael Conforto was back in the lineup, too, after sitting out Monday because of his slump. But Rojas dropped him down to seventh, his lowest placement since the second game of last season. "I think Michael is going to start hitting," Rojas said. "I really do." . . . Robert Gsellman, who tore his right lat in late June, has healed quicker than expected and is expected to start throwing soon, Rojas said.
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