The Mets' Francisco Lindor grounds out in the fifth inning...

The Mets' Francisco Lindor grounds out in the fifth inning of a game against the Pirates in Pittsburgh on Friday. Credit: AP/Gene J. Puskar

PITTSBURGH — Francisco Lindor’s disappointing debut season with the Mets just got worse.

The franchise shortstop landed on the injured list Saturday with a strained right oblique, suffered on a pair of swings a day earlier.

An MRI Saturday morning revealed a Grade 2 strain, Lindor said, but he and manager Luis Rojas declined to estimate how long Lindor will be out. Lindor said he is "very confident" he will play again this season.

"All I know is, this sucks," he said. "I don’t have any timetable. I would love to say I’m day-to-day, but I’m not. This is more like week-to-week at the beginning and see how I bounce back. God is in control. He’s going to dictate how long I’m going to be out for."

On a scale of Grades 1 through 3, Lindor’s Grade 2 is a moderate strain. Grade 2 comes with "significant loss of strength and motion" and "may require two to three months before a complete return to athletics," according to the website for the Mets-affiliated Hospital for Special Surgery.

Lindor said he first felt the pain in his right side "a little bit" on his second-to-last swing Friday, a foul ball on a slider on the inner edge of the plate. On the next pitch, he sent a grounder to the right side of the infield and grabbed at his oblique before running to first.

"I’m sorry I didn’t run," he said. "It was going to help the rally if I made it to first. But I couldn’t run. I felt like I couldn’t run anywhere near 100%."

 

The injury comes at a particularly bad time for Lindor, who had been heating up at the plate. In a dozen games this month, he was hitting .333 with a .489 OBP and .500 slugging percentage.

Lindor’s numbers on the year remain poor: .228/.326/.376, all the lowest of his career.

"I’m going to pride myself on working as hard as I can to actually be back and help the team win. I know the training staff is good," he said. "It’s a time for me to get to know them more. I’ll spend a little more time with them now. Let’s look at the positive. Build a relationship out of this one."

This leaves only two Mets position players who have been on the active roster all season: leftfielder Dominic Smith and catcher James McCann.

The Mets had their full batch of presumed Opening Day starters together for about half a game Friday, when J.D. Davis returned, until Lindor got hurt. They have had all eight in the lineup on only eight occasions, most recently May 1.

"You don’t get used to this," Rojas said. "You get a player that lands on the IL, they’re all tough."

In Lindor’s absence, Rojas said he plans to "defer once again to our depth," playing Luis Guillorme, Jonathan Villar and Jose Peraza at shortstop. Guillorme, the best defender of that trio, got the start Saturday.

Travis Blankenhorn, called up from Triple-A Syracuse to take Lindor’s roster spot, has played mostly second and third, plus a little corner outfield.

Even though Lindor hasn’t hit much with the Mets, he still provided his usual defense, which earned him Gold Gloves in 2016 and 2019.

"His absence is going to be felt," Rojas said. "We have a really good chance to be a really good defensive team even though Lindor’s presence is not going to be there. Always, a guy like that is missed on the field. I know you talk about his bat, but the value that a player like Lindor has is just, for me, unmeasurable because he does so many things."