SAN FRANCISCO — In a season of theoretical opportunity, T.J. Rivera won’t play at all.
Mets manager Mickey Callaway said Sunday that the utility infielder, who had Tommy John surgery last September, is out for the year because of a sprained right elbow. Rivera suffered the setback in July during a rehab assignment with Triple-A Las Vegas and didn’t bounce back physically the way the Mets had hoped.
A season that never really began now is over.
“It’s still pretty sore. We’re just going to rest it and try to get him ready for spring training,” Callaway said. “It just requires some rest and kind of getting back after it again.”
Rivera, a Bronx native who will turn 30 in October, has a .304/.335/.445 slash line in 106 career games. He played first, second and third — plus three games in leftfield — for the Mets in 2016-17.
In addition to costing the Mets infield depth all year, the injury is a blow to Rivera’s career. In his absence, the Mets carried Phillip Evans on the roster out of spring training, hung on to Jose Reyes (hitting .198) all season, and gave repeated looks to Luis Guillorme and Evans when they needed an infielder. A healthy Rivera could have seen time at third during Todd Frazier’s multiple disabled-list stints, at first as part of the revolving door there, and at second after the trade of Asdrubal Cabrera (a vacancy filled effectively by Jeff McNeil, who was an afterthought six months ago).
Anthony Swarzak (right shoulder inflammation) will make a rehab appearance for Class A Brooklyn on Monday, Callaway said. The righthander has been out since Aug. 4. “We should see him soon,” Callaway said. The same is not true for righthander Bobby Wahl, who Callaway indicated won’t return this month from the right hamstring strain he suffered three weeks ago. “It’s still pretty sore, so the rehab might last a little longer than the season,” Callaway said.
First thoughts on Bruce
Callaway continues to talk up Jay Bruce as the Mets’ potential full-time first baseman in 2019.
“He feels comfortable, the coaches like what they see so far, so we’re definitely excited that he could be our first baseman next year,” Callaway said. “He looks good. He’s getting more and more comfortable over there the more games he plays. I think he’s going to have the whole offseason to continue to work at this if this is the route we’re going to go.”