ATLANTA — Jeff McNeil, the Mets’ offensive sparkplug and batting title contender, is hurt.
McNeil will get an MRI on his left hamstring Wednesday morning in Atlanta. He tweaked it right before reaching first base on a groundout in the ninth inning of the Mets’ 5-3 loss to the Braves Tuesday night.
“It was as I got closer to the bag,” McNeil said. “I think maybe one of the reasons I [lunged for the base with a larger step] was so I didn’t have to step with that leg. But it wasn’t terrible. It’s just a little snag.
“It doesn’t feel great. I don’t think it’s terrible. We have no timeline. We’ll see how it feels in the morning.”
Unfortunately for McNeil, he has something to compare this experience to. He was on the injured list for 12 days May into June due to a strained left hamstring. He said he doesn’t know how this one compares — it was numb from icing Tuesday night — and was doing more hoping than knowing with his initial self-diagnosis.
“Hopefully, it’s not bad,” McNeil said. “Hopefully, maybe it’s just a cramp that I felt. We’ll see.”
The Mets’ leadoff hitter is hitting .332 after a 1-for-5 effort against the Braves. That’s good for third in the NL behind Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich (.335) and Pittsburgh’s Bryan Reynolds (.333).
If the Mets are going to make good on this midsummer revival and sudden wild-card contention, McNeil would seem to be a significant part of it. As they left SunTrust Park on Tuesday, they couldn’t be sure how long he might be unavailable.
“It’s tough. It’s tough,” Zack Wheeler said. “He’s a huge part of this team. He brings fire every day to the field. He’s a ballplayer, and you need those type of guys on your team, you need them in your lineup. It’s unfortunate that that happened. Hopefully, it’s not too serious and he’ll get back decently quick. We’ll need his bat, that’s for sure.”
McNeil added: “It sucks. The team is playing well. I just want to contribute. Hopefully, this is something real short and I can get back on the field.”