ST. LOUIS — Carlos Carrasco is no longer close to returning to the Mets.
They transferred him to the 60-day injured list on Thursday, a surprise move that means Carrasco cannot join the active roster until May 31 at the earliest. He won’t pitch in a minor-league game this weekend, either.
A Mets source said Carrasco did not suffer any specific setback in the rehabilitation of his torn right hamstring. He simply has not progressed as quickly as they hoped he would.
Setback or not, this is a delay for Carrasco — and a notable departure from the Mets’ public expectation that Carrasco would make his team debut in the second week of May.
"This is just a reassessment of the timeline to make sure that when he comes to us, there is nothing in his way," manager Luis Rojas. "There’s still some things we want to test, on-field stuff. Pitching, competing, game-speed stuff. Everything that’s going to come into play when he’s activated with us."
Early this week, Rojas suggested Carrasco, 34, might join the Mets as soon as Sunday. When the Mets decided they preferred Carrasco pitch in an actual game — as opposed to a scrimmage — before being activated, he was lined up for a rehab assignment Sunday.
A "planned checkpoint"/re-evaluation of Carrasco led Mets decision-makers to conclude he wasn’t ready for that, a source said.
Carrasco hurt his leg while sprinting on March 18. At the time, the Mets estimated he would be out six to eight weeks. The best-case scenario now is a return 10-plus weeks after the initial injury.
Among the Mets’ primary offseason additions, Carrasco was penciled in as the No. 2 starter before dealing with physical issues during spring training. He joined the Mets from Cleveland via the January trade headlined by Francisco Lindor.
Lindor said that, when he most recently spoke to Carrasco about a week ago, Carrasco was excited to be with the Mets soon and was looking for an apartment in New York.
Jacob deGrom (right lat inflammation) played catch at Busch Stadium on Thursday, as planned.
His next step: more catch and perhaps a bullpen session on Friday. If he continues to feel fine, he will start against the Diamondbacks on Sunday.
Joey Lucchesi is lined up to start Saturday, but the Mets have not committed to him yet.
"Just in case we want to start someone else and have Lucchesi available out of the 'pen or something," Rojas said.
Brandon Nimmo (bruised left index finger) said he hopes to come off the IL when eligible next Friday. He had wanted to avoid the IL altogether, too, but as the week progressed, his hand did not.
"I was taking up a spot that was pretty much pinch running and some defense," he said. "So it really just came down to our team needed someone who was available right now, and that wasn’t me. The hand is coming along and trending up, but it’s just not quick enough for what we need right now."
In Nimmo’s absence, Rojas said the Mets might add an outfielder for their homestand that starts Friday. He mentioned two names: Johneshwy Fargas, who is not on the 40-man roster but is with the Mets as part of the taxi squad, and Khalil Lee, who is on the 40-man roster and is with Triple-A Syracuse.
The Mets promoted righthanded reliever Tommy Hunter to the majors before their series finale with the Cardinals.
They cleared a spot on the 40-man roster by moving Carrasco to the 60-day IL and cleared a spot on the 26-man roster by sending righthander Jordan Yamamoto back to Triple-A Syracuse.
Luis Guillorme (strained right oblique) remains on track to return from the IL on Sunday, the first day he is eligible. He took ground balls at shortstop and did a few sprints Thursday . . . Matt Harvey is lined up to start for the Orioles at Citi Field next Wednesday. That would be his first time pitching against the Mets.
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