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Carlos Carrasco out 6-8 weeks with hamstring tear, sources say

Mets pitcher Carlos Carrasco during a spring training

Mets pitcher Carlos Carrasco during a spring training workout on Feb. 26 in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The Mets aren’t so optimistic about Carlos Carrasco anymore.

After his successful return from a sore right elbow, Carrasco suffered another injury Thursday, tearing his right hamstring during the sprinting portion of his workout, eliminating the possibility he is ready for Opening Day.

An MRI revealed it is a high-grade tear, and he is estimated to be out for 6-8 weeks, sources said Thursday night.

"We're praying for the best in a case like this," manager Luis Rojas said. "I went to the training room and I met with him. In one of the beds there, he was just laying facedown. But he was waiting to see [the severity of the injury]. He was in that mode too. He was waiting for results, not showing any emotions or anything."

Prior to getting hurt, Carrasco, who turns 34 on Sunday, had had a productive morning. He threw a 20-pitch inning during live batting practice, his first time facing hitters since being slowed by the elbow issue. He allowed minimal hard contact other than an opposite-field double against Pete Alonso, who is as hot as any Mets hitter during camp.

It was encouraging enough that Rojas seemed upbeat about Carrasco’s chances of being ready for his first turn through the rotation. That seemed feasible only if his build-up — over probably three more appearances, be it exhibition games or simulated games — went smoothly.

"We feel that way, it feels that way," Rojas said, before the injury news. "It was a really good day for him."

Rojas added hours later: "Once I left the [news conference] room, I was told what happened."

Now, the Mets don’t know when they will have Carrasco next.

They have two openings in the rotation for at least three candidates: lefthander David Peterson, lefthander Joey Lucchesi and righthander Jordan Yamamoto. They all can be optioned to the minors. A day after Lucchesi held the Marlins hitless for three innings, the Mets relegated Yamamoto to live BP, where he threw four simulated innings.

Rojas also mentioned Jerad Eickhoff, Corey Oswalt and Mike Montgomery as options. Oswalt was designated for assignment last month but has "looked really good in camp," Rojas said.

The Mets view Montgomery, who is in camp on a minor-league deal and has an opt-out clause toward the end of the month, as a starter/reliever hybrid. He tossed three innings in a simulated game Tuesday.

Some combination of the above names will fill out the rotation behind Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman and Taijuan Walker.

"If there’s a team that can put up with having a few stars out, I think it’s us," Stroman said. "We have so much depth, guys who have done it at the big-league level for so long. Yamamoto, Lucchesi, Peterson — those guys are great. Those guys can be threes, fours and fives in other rotations in the big leagues.

"We have the utmost confidence in every single one of those guys to come in and do their job. Obviously, we’ll be waiting for Carrasco to get back, because he’s a huge plus to our staff."

Carrasco’s absence also eliminates the infinitesimal chance that the Mets would try a six-man rotation. Although he teased that possibility in the early days of spring training, Rojas said Thursday, before the Carrasco news, that the Mets were planning to stick with the standard five-man operation, deferring to deGrom’s preference to pitch as often as possible.

"It's not on the table for us," Rojas said. "We're sticking with five as of now. Jake likes to throw with the five days always."

Pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, similarly, said he has had "zero conversations" about a six-starter arrangement.

They’ll be happy with five, hoping that Carrasco is among them soon.

"It’s devastating, man," Stroman said. "I see how hard Carrasco works. We need him in the rotation to be elite."

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