WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A day after taking a line drive off his lower right hand, lefthander Jason Vargas wasn’t sure Saturday when he would next pitch or how serious his injury is.
X-rays were negative, but the Mets did not have results of a CT scan as of Saturday afternoon. Vargas said he was going to see a hand specialist Saturday or Sunday.
Vargas wore a soft brace on the hand “to keep it from getting caught on anything,” he said.
“It’s sore,” Vargas said. “It feels like I got hit by a ball yesterday — pretty hard.”
Until the Mets know how serious of an issue it is, it’s hard to say how it might affect their rotation when the regular season starts March 29.
The tentative plan was for Vargas to start the third game. Thanks to an off day, the Mets can get away without using Vargas (or any fifth starter) until the sixth game of the year, April 4, if they want or need to.
Manager Mickey Callaway said he was “not quite sure” of his level of concern for Vargas and the start of the season. Vargas said he had none.
“I don’t really have a level of concern,” Vargas said. “As long as I’m able to keep doing stuff, I don’t feel like anything should get in the way of that.”
Righthander Anthony Swarzak pitched a perfect inning Saturday against the Nationals, his first Grapefruit League game since Feb. 27. A strained left calf had kept him out.
Callaway said Swarzak, who is scheduled to pitch again Monday, will be ready for Opening Day.
“It felt great to compete,” Swarzak said. “It felt good to be in a Mets uniform out there, facing hitters in front of some fans. It was all in all a good day today.
“I could have kept going. I’m feeling good, I’m feeling strong. I think it’s safe to say I’ve probably thrown the least [of all relievers] in camp, so I better be feeling pretty good.”
While managing the calf issue, Swarzak kept his arm strength up by playing catch, throwing bullpen sessions and pitching in simulated games.
Righthander Rafael Montero, who has not had a good spring and is out of minor league options, had a good showing Saturday against the Nationals: one run, two hits and no walks in 2 2/3 innings. He struck out three.
“He attacked the zone a little bit better than we’ve seen in the past,” Callaway said. “It was an impressive day for him. It’s good to see.”
A scene from the Mets’ clubhouse: Former Mets captain and closer John Franco, now an ambassador-type for the team, playfully chided 34-year-old Jose Reyes one recent morning.
“Remember when you first came up and called me grandpa?” Franco said. “Now you’re the grandpa. Where’s your cane?”
Franco was 42 when Reyes, a day before his 20th birthday, made his major league debut for the 2003 Mets. Now, Reyes is the fourth-oldest Met behind Adrian Gonzalez, David Wright and Vargas.