Mets pitcher Drew Smith against the San Diego Padres at...

Mets pitcher Drew Smith against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field last month. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

PITTSBURGH — Drew Smith is scheduled for season-ending elbow surgery on Friday, but the Mets reliever doesn’t know yet what kind of surgery it will be.

Smith has an appointment Thursday in Texas with Dr. Keith Meister, who fixed Brooks Raley’s elbow in May. Meister will be able to better determine which of the two options Smith needs: the really bad version (full-blown Tommy John surgery) or the slightly less bad version (internal brace).

Internal brace, a modern approach that stabilizes the damaged ulnar collateral ligament, comes with a shorter recovery time, which in Smith’s case would be about 12 months, he said. That would allow him to return to a major-league mound in time to pitch the second half of the 2025 season.

Tommy John surgery would sideline Smith for about 16 months, meaning he wouldn’t be able to pitch again until 2026. Because this would be his second such surgery — he also blew out his elbow in 2019 — the rehab would be longer than usual.

“It really stinks,” he said.

For Smith, who is set to be a free agent this offseason, the difference between the internal brace and Tommy John surgery is huge.

The easier version would allow him to sign a one-year contract, re-establish his ability and value next summer, then perhaps cash in during the 2025-26 offseason. If he has to sit out through 2025, the contract stuff gets trickier.

 

One recent path for other pitchers in situations like that: a two-year deal in which a team pays the pitcher the league minimum strictly to rehab in the first season, then gets that pitcher — presumably healthy — at a discounted rate in Year 2.

Smith, 30, is the Mets’ longest-tenured pitcher (acquired from the Rays for Lucas Duda in 2017).

Marte update

Starling Marte (right knee bone bruise) is due for another round of tests Wednesday or Thursday, manager Carlos Mendoza said. The Mets hope Marte then will be cleared to restart baseball activities.

Martinez sits again

J.D. Martinez was out of the lineup for a second time in five games just to rest, Mendoza said. Both days off came during early start times.

Mendoza said Martinez’s back — an issue periodically in recent years, most recently in April — has not been bothering him.

“He’s just not getting results right now,” Mendoza said. “A little off, maybe. Health-wise, he’s good. No worries at all.”

Extra bases

Former Mets All-Star Daniel Murphy will call Nationals-Mets on Tuesday on SNY with Gary Cohen and Ron Darling . . . The Pirates had a pregame moment of silence for longtime Mets photographer Marc Levine, who died suddenly last week . . . Sean Reid-Foley (right shoulder impingement) has resumed throwing after a longer-than-expected shutdown. He will be out through the All-Star break and likely longer . . . Mendoza said reports from Triple-A Syracuse on Brett Baty “are good.” Baty is batting .171 with a .416 OPS over the past week and a half. “Work ethic, the way he’s handling the whole situation, not only playing third but some second base,” Mendoza said. “He got off to a really good start, cooled off the past few days, but the at-bats continue to be good, continue to impact the baseball.” . . . Tuesday will be the Mets’ sixth different start time in as many days. They are, in order: 11:05 a.m., 6:40 p.m., 4:05 p.m., 1:35 p.m., 12:35 p.m., 7:10 p.m.

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