Marcus Stroman showed tangible progress in his comeback from a torn left calf muscle Friday by participating in a series of defensive drills.
After a four-inning simulated game — part of his routine to maintain arm strength while on the injured list — he completed pitcher’s fielding practice at MCU Park in Brooklyn.
“It was a very productive day for him,” manager Luis Rojas said from Atlanta before the Mets’ game against the Braves.
Fielding his position, more so than actually pitching, is the bigger issue during his rehabilitation. Friday was his first time facing live hitters in two weeks.
Rojas said he doesn’t know when Stroman might join the Mets’ rotation.
“Definitely have to get together and talk about the pitch count and what it was,” Rojas said. “I don’t know the exact pitch count that he had. I know he went four innings, so four ups. And then see we what the next step is.”
Lefthander David Peterson, filling in for Stroman, held the Red Sox to two runs in 5 2/3 innings in his major-league debut Tuesday night. He is scheduled to face the Braves on Sunday.
For the first time this season, Jeff McNeil was out of the lineup, replaced at third base by rookie Andres Gimenez.
Rojas said it was a routine day off for McNeil and not related to his defensive issues. He has made four errors in seven games.
“The more he hits, obviously, the more action he’s going to have on the field running the bases and doing it all,” Rojas said. “We’re giving Jeff a day.”
Added McNeil, who last year frequently dealt with minor physical problems: “My body took a pretty good beating.”
As for the throwing troubles, more practice with infield coach Gary DiSarcina is in order, Rojas said.
“Just a few tough plays here and there,” McNeil said. “I feel fine out there. Just trying to get my legs under me, get my arm to where I really want it to be. I just gotta go out there and work every single day and be a little bit better.”
As the roster churns
The Mets put catcher Rene Rivera on the IL with a hyperextended left (non-throwing) elbow.
They filled his roster spot with righthander Franklyn Kilome, their return in the July 2018 Asdrubal Cabrera trade with the Phillies.
Kilome, 25, hasn’t played above Double-A and hasn’t pitched since 2018 because of Tommy John surgery.