The curious case of Jed Lowrie took another bizarre turn Saturday when general manager Brodie Van Wagenen offered an update that left it unclear which injury or how many injuries the infielder is dealing with.
Van Wagenen said Lowrie’s “left side has caused him problems,” but didn’t want to elaborate.
“I’m not going to get into any more details beyond the fact that his left side needs to be working in concert with each other,” Van Wagenen said. “The knee to the hamstring, we want to make sure that the kinetic chain is working together and that his posture and his functionality is working. And that’s why we don’t want to lose any more time with him, and there’s a lot of energy being put forth to make sure when he starts to accelerate this work again that he’ll be ready to be the Jed Lowrie that we saw the last two years in Oakland.”
Yet to make his Mets debut, Lowrie has been rehabbing — first a left knee capsule sprain and then a left hamstring strain — at the Mets’ facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Van Wagenen said Lowrie has been taking ground balls and “continuing his baseball progression.”
Asked if Lowrie is dealing with a new injury, aside from the hamstring issue the Mets announced more than a month ago, Van Wagenen didn’t say.
Lowrie, 35, signed with the Mets in January when Van Wagenen, his former longtime agent and a fellow Stanford product, offered him a two-year, $20-million contract. Lowrie had a lengthy history of injuries — but had averaged 155 games the previous two seasons — and joined an already-crowded infield depth chart.
Almost immediately upon his arrival to spring training, Lowrie complained of knee soreness, which required three months of recovery. When the Mets thought he was on the brink of joining them in early May, Lowrie hurt his hamstring during a rehab assignment.
In the Mets’ clubhouse at Citi Field, Lowrie no longer has a locker. It was given away this week as part of the team’s roster churn.
“We’re hopeful that he can make an impact for us here,” Van Wagenen said, “at some point in the future.”
New face, old face
The Mets did some bullpen rearranging Saturday, acquiring righthander Brooks Pounders from the Indians for cash considerations and calling up righthander Chris Flexen from Triple-A Syracuse.
Pounders — listed at 6-5 and 265 pounds — had a 2.31 ERA for Cleveland’s Triple-A team. In parts of three majors-league seasons, he has a 8.92 ERA in 38 games.
A key to his success this season, according to Pounders: throwing his slider more frequently.
“I use it a lot more in all counts now,” Pounders, 28, said. “I feel like it’s a pitch I can get ahead with and put guys away with, so it’s definitely one of my strengths that I’ll continue doing.”
The trade for Pounders is a result of the Mets’ lack of trust in their other relievers. Jeurys Familia, Robert Gsellman and even closer Edwin Diaz have had issues, and the bottom of the bullpen depth chart has been a rotating cast of pitchers who haven’t stood out or stuck.
“We have lost some games here of late that we had an opportunity to win,” Van Wagenen said. “And so we’re going to continue to look for any and all options to try to create a little more success for those last nine outs out of the game.”
For Flexen, this call-up is different from his previous ones in that the Mets view him a reliever long-term. He recently moved to the bullpen for Syracuse, and Callaway said Flexen touched 97 mph with his fastball and showed an above-average slider.
“We’re hoping we have an impactful reliever here,” Callaway said.
Callaway said he won’t hesitate to use Pounders and Flexen in big situations late in games.
“We told them, 'Hey, be ready for any situation,'" Callaway said.
To make room for Pounders and Flexen, the Mets sent Tim Peterson to Syracuse and designated Hector Santiago for assignment. Santiago had a 6.75 ERA in eight games.
Brandon Nimmo (bulging disc) returned to New York City on Saturday to be re-evaluated. He was scratched from Syracuse’s lineup Friday with what the Mets called “neck soreness" . . . As planned, Robinson Cano (strained left quadriceps) also rejoined the Mets on Saturday. He is eligible to come off the injured list Sunday. “We’ll make an assessment [Sunday] on his readiness,” Van Wagenen said. Cano went 4-for-10 with three doubles in three rehab games for Syracuse . . . Gsellman (back tightness) said he was fine and ready to pitch Saturday.