Then-Dodger J.D. Martinez watches his two-run home run off Rockies...

Then-Dodger J.D. Martinez watches his two-run home run off Rockies starting pitcher Chris Flexen during the first inning of a game on Sept. 28, 2023, in Denver.  Credit: AP/David Zalubowski

CINCINNATI — J.D. Martinez isn’t ready yet, so the Mets will keep waiting.

Martinez is taking two days off from baseball activities after reporting “overall body soreness” while working out at the team’s facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida, manager Carlos Mendoza said on Sunday.

Mendoza ruled out Martinez joining the Mets during their four-game series in Atlanta, so the earliest he might play is Friday, but that is far from a guarantee.

“He’s feeling it body-wise,” Mendoza said. “Quick ramp-up, a lot of at-bats on the back fields. But now that he started playing in real games where he’s got to go through his routine, sitting down, waiting for his at-bats — it’s not like he’s hitting every inning. It’s more like he’s playing in real games, kind of finding that routine where he gets an at-bat, he’s got to sit down for a couple of innings, get in the cages, things like that.

“It’s going to take him a little bit longer. That’s what we’ve been saying: It’s fluid. We’ll see where we’re at next week.”

Martinez played with Low-A St. Lucie on Friday and Saturday, going 1-for-8 with two walks.

After skipping Sunday and Monday, Martinez will return to game action Tuesday, according to Mendoza.

 

He said they came to that conclusion after discussions between “the two sides,” Martinez and the Mets.

“It’s just the overall body soreness that every player goes through,” Mendoza said. “Especially when a position player reports for spring training, that second week is the toughest, especially when they start playing games and [have] longer days, more activities. That’s what he’s going through right now.”

The Mets signed Martinez, a 36-year-old designated hitter, to a one-year, $12 million contract a week before the season started. Asked if it is disappointing to not have him yet, Mendoza said they knew “from the beginning” that “he was going to need a lot of time.” Sunday was the first day he was eligible to be called up.

“Especially not only with the at-bats and the timing and the mechanics, but overall with his body,” Mendoza said. “I’ve been saying it all along: We will be pretty flexible here and we’ll listen to his body and we’ll listen to him. And here we are.”

Martinez practicing in the outfield is “not on the table,” Mendoza said, but he added that they can revisit that possibility later in the season.

For now, the Mets just want — and need — Martinez the hitter.

“It’s both parties here, us presenting ideas and listening to him as well, because he knows his health better than anybody,” Mendoza said. “We’re just starting to get to know the player now.”  

Extra bases

Outfield prospect Drew Gilbert landed on the Triple-A injured list with a strained right hamstring .  .  . Righthander Max Kranick (left hamstring strain) began a rehab assignment with St. Lucie, throwing 22 pitches in two-thirds of an inning.

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