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Stiff neck ends Brandon Nimmo's night vs. Phillies in first inning

Mets leftfielder Brandon Nimmo returns to the dugout

Mets leftfielder Brandon Nimmo returns to the dugout after he strikes out leading off during the first inning against the Nationals at Citi Field on April 6. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

PHILADELPHIA — Brandon Nimmo’s stiff neck ended his night about as fast as eight batters and eight runs ended Steven Matz’s.

Immediately after manager Mickey Callaway pulled Matz in the first inning of the Mets’ 14-3 loss to the Phillies on Tuesday, he had to jog out to centerfield to check on Nimmo, who also wound up exiting.

Callaway said Nimmo will “most definitely” be out for the Mets’ series finale against the Phillies at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Nimmo said he felt “just a little bit of soreness” in his neck Tuesday morning, but was fine and went through normal pregame warm-ups after getting it massaged at the ballpark. After taking his first swing in the top of the first, though, it “totally locked up.”

“I got on first base and got into my lead,” said Nimmo, who worked an eight-pitch walk. “When I looked up, I almost couldn’t hold my head up. My neck just totally locked up on me. At that point, when I was running the bases, I just felt so unnatural out there.”

In the bottom of the first, Nimmo tried stretching his neck between pitches, but it wasn’t working. When J.T. Realmuto doubled to left-center, scoring the Phillies’ first two runs, Nimmo ran at less than full speed to track it down on one hop.

“I wasn’t really able to run very well and turn my head,” Nimmo said. “I wasn’t helping anybody by being out there at that point.”

Nimmo’s only similar experience came when he was 12, he said. One morning, he woke up and couldn’t move his neck. A brace and 24 hours’ worth of muscle relaxers did the trick.

“I was out,” Nimmo recalled with a laugh. “I woke up the next morning and my neck was better.”

This time, he’s not sure how long it’ll take to get better. The Mets are off Thursday.

“It wasn’t so much startling, but it was like, what the heck is going on? This needs to go away now, because I need to play,” Nimmo said. “I’m not really sure what happened. I’m not sure what caused it.”


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