PHILADELPHIA - Usually, teams will be extra cautious with a player who has a rib-cage injury. Better to miss a few days than a few weeks -- or potentially more -- is the thinking.
The Mets subscribe to that thinking, they say. Yet they still let Juan Lagares play on Sunday, a day after he was scratched from the lineup because of rib-cage pain.
They were so careful with Lagares on Saturday that he was ordered not to swing during a pinch-bunting appearance late in the game.
Still, Lagares was in the lineup Sunday. He was back in New York in an MRI tube Monday. Subsequently, he was placed on the disabled list for at least 15 days with what is officially called a right intercostal strain.
"I don't think you can ever put a date on some of these kinds of things, these intercostal strains," manager Terry Collins said. "That's exactly what I told him [Sunday] morning. When he said he was OK, I said, 'You've got to be honest because these things, if it gets worse, it's not two weeks, it could be four.' We'll have to wait and see."
Lagares was 1-for-5 in Sunday's 11-inning victory over the Phillies. He was double-switched out in the 10th inning because of a recurrence of rib- cage pain.
Collins said the Mets did not just take Lagares' word for it that he was OK to play.
"We did our due diligence," he said. "They tested him in the trainer's room. They put him through some things where they said if it had been acting up, they would have seen it, they could have seen the expressions. He said absolutely there was nothing wrong.
"Then they took him downstairs to hit and obviously there's four sets of eyes on him to see if he's flinching or if his swing's changed, and he came out of there feeling great. All of a sudden, as the game went on, he just felt it getting worse. He told me it was not one swing. He started to feel it running the bases and then his last at-bat, he kind of felt it and went back out to centerfield, and it got worse and worse to where he was uncomfortable just standing."
Matt den Dekker was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas and replaced Lagares as the centerfielder and leadoff hitter Monday night. Den Dekker had been sent down on Sunday but stayed in Philadelphia in case Lagares had to go on the DL.