Jed Lowrie’s injury finally has a name: posterior cruciate ligament laxity. That means some of the connective tissue in his left knee is too loose.
General manager Brodie Van Wagenen revealed that diagnosis Thursday, a day after the infielder received a second opinion on his troublesome joint. The next step is for the doctors to “put their heads together along with the player” during the “next couple of days,” Van Wagenen said.
The Mets say they still are hoping Lowrie can play this season.
“We think the player can help us,” said Van Wagenen, Lowrie’s former longtime agent.
Lowrie has dealt with knee problems since at least February 2019. Van Wagenen said the PCL laxity has been “part of the root of his problem here for several months,” adding that he does not believe it was missed during Lowrie’s physical at the time of his January 2019 signing.
The problem seemed to worsen during camp this month as Lowrie tried to transition from his gigantic left leg brace, which mostly mitigated the pain, to a smaller-but-still-big brace that he would be allowed to wear during games.
“Stabilizing that is important, building strength around it should allow him to be able to perform,” Van Wagenen said. “That’s the key and it's been the key to strengthening that area. He's been able to feel close to if not 100 percent while wearing the larger brace. The challenge is getting that same strength and stabilization when transitioning to the other braces.”
The Mets have not made Lowrie available for an interview since July 5.
Lowrie is 0-for-7 in two seasons with the Mets.
Maxwell on board
Catcher Bruce Maxwell, who in 2017 became the first major-leaguer to kneel during the national anthem, officially signed his minor-league contract with the Mets on Thursday. He will be based at the Mets’ Brooklyn alternate training site.
Maxwell is an offense-first player — he hit .325 and slugged .559 in the Mexican League last year — but Van Wagenen said the Mets were impressed with his improved mobility during a recent workout.
“We think from a power standpoint he provides us some good insurance from Wilson Ramos’ standpoint,” Van Wagenen said. “We’re hopeful that with continued work [defensively] that he’ll be able to catch a game on a regular basis if necessary.”
The Mets have three catchers on the active roster. Van Wagenen said he signed another because “having depth in the player pool is really important.”
Eduardo Nunez landed on the injured list with a left knee contusion. The Mets called up Brian Dozier — signed to a minors deal last week — to replace him.
Dozier played second and batted seventh against the Red Sox Thursday night on his first day on the active roster.
During baseball’s coronavirus hiatus, Dozier was iffy about playing, he said. He has an 11-month-old child and his wife is 18 weeks pregnant. She encouraged him to get out of the house, though.
“I kept going back and forth,” Dozier said. “I think quarantined up with my wife, seeing her every day for a month — she kicked me out of the house and said, ‘You need to start playing.’ So we’re here.”
Dozier spent spring training with the Padres and was released July 22 — weeks after he asked to get out of his contract. He referred to it as a “debacle.”
“I’m a big transparency guy,” he said. “I love people to be honest with me. Let’s just say that wasn’t the case over there by any means. So I had to get out of there. And I’ll leave it at that.”
As the bullpen turns
The Mets recalled lefthander Daniel Zamora to replace righthander Hunter Strickland, who was designated for assignment to create a 40-man roster spot for Dozier.
That makes four DFAed players late this month, with Stephen Gonsalves, Tyler Bashlor and Jordan Humphreys the others.
“Roster management is always a challenge,” Van Wagenen said. “I think it's an even greater challenge when there's only 60 players allowed to be in the pool and we don’t really have a full minor-league system from which to draw from.”
Marcus Stroman (torn left calf muscle) is scheduled to face hitters Friday. Van Wagenen called that “encouraging,” though his timeline to return is determined less by arm strength and more by his ability to run and field his position. … In traveling to Atlanta — their first flight of this pandemic season — after playing the Red Sox Thursday night, the Mets planned to use a larger plane than normal to allow for greater social distancing.