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Mets' Jose Martinez out four months with torn meniscus after colliding with umpire

Mets' Jose Martinez leaves the game with an

Mets' Jose Martinez leaves the game with an injury in the fourth inning of a spring training game against the Miami Marlins at Clover Park in Port St. Lucie, Florida, Sunday March 7, 2021. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Mets roster hopeful Jose Martinez suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee in a collision with an umpire on Sunday, manager Luis Rojas announced on Monday.

Rojas said Martinez, who would have been a righthanded bat off the bench if he made the team, is expected to have surgery and will be out four months.

A published report said the Mets are having talks with former Phillies and Royals third baseman Maikel Franco.

It is unclear if the Mets’ interest in Franco is related to Martinez’s diagnosis or was always intended as a hedge against the defensive woes of incumbent third baseman J.D. Davis, who made a throwing error in the Mets’ sloppy 9-5 loss to the Nationals at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

One day after Jeff McNeil made three errors at third base, the Mets made three errors and allowed five unearned runs on Monday.

"The last two days have been tough," Rojas said. "I think right away we’ve got to recognize we hurt ourselves . . . You want to say it’s early in camp and we have room to [improve]. We need to do it right now."

The other errors were made by starting pitcher Jordan Yamamoto and minor-leaguer Jake Hager, so it’s not as if the Mets’ "A’’ players kicked the ball around much on Monday. But Rojas still wants to address it in camp on Tuesday.

Franco, 28, is not thought of as a top defender at third base but he can mash, and he did a lot of damage against the Mets in his Philadelphia days. He hit eight homers in 60 games for Kansas City in 2020 and went deep 19 times in 67 games against the Mets (eight of them in 127 at-bats at Citi Field) with the Phillies.

The Mets’ interest in Franco, which was first reported by MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, continues to signal that the team is not sold on Davis as its everyday third baseman. Team executives repeatedly have declined to give him a vote of confidence and considered other options all offseason — and now, apparently, into spring training as well.

Davis, who drew three walks in three plate appearances on Monday and is hitting .375, didn’t help his overall case with a throwing error in the fourth inning. He was playing in short rightfield in the shift when he fielded a grounder by Alex Avila and threw wildly to first as a run scored for Washington.

"He just rushed the play a little bit," Rojas said. "That’s something that we need to improve."

As for Martinez, he was injured when he collided with first-base umpire Greg Gibson after trying to tag Miami’s Lewin Diaz on a grounder down the first-base line. The Mets signed Martinez to a split contract on Jan. 14.  

Extra bases

Matt Allan, the Mets’ 19-year-old third-round pick from 2019 with the high-octane arm, made his professional debut and lit up the radar gun with fastballs in the mid-to-high 90s. Allan was charged with three runs (one earned) in one inning . . . Carlos Carrasco, who threw live batting practice on Monday, will make his spring training debut late this week or early next week, Rojas said.

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