The forgotten man in the Mets’ bullpen still is working on a comeback.
Righthander Dellin Betances, out since the first week of the season, began a rehabilitation assignment with Low-A St. Lucie on Sunday. He struck out two and walked one in a scoreless inning.
The Mets have called his injury a right shoulder impingement. Really, though, the point was to give Betances time to strengthen the shoulder in an attempt to recover some of his lost fastball velocity.
"Everyone is excited with what he has accomplished so far," Mets manager Luis Rojas said. "We’re pretty optimistic about him going into this assignment and to keep ramping things up. I’m excited to see what comes out of it."
Betances’ fastball was at 93-94 mph during recent live batting practice sessions, according to Rojas.
Jacob deGrom (right flexor tendinitis) played catch and remains on track to start Wednesday.
"He gave me a thumbs-up earlier saying that everything is progressing the same with his in-between-starts routine," Rojas said.
Michael Conforto (strained right hamstring) was upbeat Sunday after running the bases Saturday. He hoped to begin a rehab assignment soon. Rojas said it could come "by the end of the week."
Jeff McNeil (strained left hamstring) went 0-for-2 and played five innings at second base, as scheduled, in his first rehab game with High-A Brooklyn.
Hello from the other side
Five games into his return from right elbow bone chip surgery, Seth Lugo has been pleased with how quickly his arm recovers after pitching — a regular topic of conversation in recent seasons as the Mets carefully managed his workload.
"In years past, there’d be a little inflammation or something," Lugo said. "I just thought that was what pitching was like. Now it’s just not there. It feels better. It feels different. It’s relieving. I recover so much better now."
Brandon Nimmo and J.D. Davis, both dealing with left hand injuries, are taking dry swings. That is progress for Davis. "No timeline yet, but we’re very optimistic this time that something is going to start progressing," Rojas said . . . Jonathan Villar (family matter) and Billy McKinney (sore right knee) were out of the lineup. Rojas said he expects McKinney to return Monday . . . The Mets will keep their rotation in order for a four-game series against the Cubs beginning Monday. That means David Peterson (6.32 ERA) will start the opener.
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