Mets' Francisco Lindor looks on from the dugout against the...

Mets' Francisco Lindor looks on from the dugout against the Cincinnati Reds during an MLB baseball game at Citi Field on Friday, July 30, 2021. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The Mets appear to be contemplating the possibility of bringing Francisco Lindor back from the 10-day injured list without sending him on a minor-league rehab assignment.

The Mets plan to have their starting shortstop travel with the team on this week’s road trip to San Francisco and Los Angeles. During it, he will be tested with more game-speed circumstances. Lindor last played July 16 before going on the IL with a right oblique strain.

Asked whether it would be possible for Lindor to return for the homestand that starts Aug. 24, manager Luis Rojas said, "There is a possibility he might be playing."

"Let’s see how he does this week and also the decision on a rehab assignment or us simulating it," Rojas added. "Then we’ll see if it’s more realistic . . . for him to be back on the next homestand."

Lindor clearly wants to come right back off the IL or at most, go on a very short minor-league rehab assignment.

"It’s not where we are in battling for the playoffs – it’s just we’re running out of time," Lindor said. "If I go spend a week and a half or two weeks in the minor leagues, when I come back we only have a month or three weeks left in the season.

"At the end of the day, it’s whatever the trainers think it best. I will give them my input [so] they know, but I have to work as hard as I can here so I can show them that maybe we don’t have to go two weeks in the minor leagues."

Lindor did a little bit of everything before Sunday’s series finale against the Dodgers at Citi Field. He took batting practice from the left side and faced higher speed pitching from the right side. He did defensive drills and baserunning, replete with diving and sliding. He came off the field – in his game-day uniform no less – streaked with dirt and grass stains.

"As of right now I feel great," Lindor said. "Every step we have done, I’ve felt great. . . . I am happy."

Asked why he worked out in his uniform, he smiled and answered, "I had nothing better to do."

"He was sliding then diving for plays on the defensive end, going and making longer throws," Rojas said. "He is simulating a lot of things he would do in the game."

Coming back from the injury has both physical and mental hurdles that Lindor must pass to rejoin the Mets. He not only has to be able to make the plays, but be confident and willing to push the oblique as he used to.

"Francisco’s got a solid mind. He’s very confident," Rojas said. "I don’t think a guy that went through an injury like that would be diving like he is out there, sliding everywhere and doing everything . . . with no holding back."

Bigger tests, however will come in the batter’s box, Rojas said, "when he’s facing firmer velocity and has to make that swing decision with less time."

"So when he gets a breaking ball and he’s got to stop, when he swings and misses – everything that going to ask him to do things at game speed because of the higher velocity – that’s where the big test is going to come. When he does that . . . that’s when you’re on the other side. That’s when you’re really close or should be playing.

"We’re looking to do some of that this week, where he’s seeing things on the big-league level like the guys saw [Saturday night against the Dodgers]: 95 to 96 [mph], up in the zone and then breaking balls out. We’re going to challenge him."


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