MILWAUKEE — Seeking solutions for their two pitchers who are performing the worst, the Mets sent reliever AJ Ramos to New York for an MRI on Sunday and are mulling their options for starter Jason Vargas.
Both pitched poorly Saturday in a loss to the Brewers. After Ramos allowed three runs and recorded two outs — a day after throwing eight balls in nine pitches and walking in the winning run — he informed a Mets trainer about tightness in his right shoulder, according to the team.
That was the first the Mets had heard about any physical issue with Ramos. Mickey Callaway said he had considered it a possibility given Ramos’ troubles, including a 6.41 ERA and 1.63 WHIP.
“We were wondering if that may be the case,” Callaway said, noting that Ramos worked through routine shoulder discomfort in spring training. “He was struggling throwing the ball where he wanted to. I think that’s the first sign that something is going on with somebody.”
That’s a significant difference from the diagnosis Callaway offered before Ramos pitched Saturday, when he said the issue was mental. “It’s working on his mindset,” Callaway said. “I don’t think he struggles with the ability to throw the ball in the zone when his mind is right. I’m sure he goes in the bullpen, he throws a strike whenever he wants.”
Assistant GM John Ricco said the Mets had not made a decision regarding Ramos and a potential disabled-list stint.
Vargas is not hurt. “Physically? No,” Ricco said. “Not that we’re aware of.”
Vargas (10.62 ERA) allowed five runs in three innings Saturday. Callaway said he will make his next start as scheduled, noting the Mets’ lack of options.
Ricco said he, Vargas, Callaway and pitching coach Dave Eiland have “had a lot of discussion about” what to do with the struggling lefthander.
“Obviously, the best thing for us is him being a productive pitcher. He won 18 games last year,” Ricco said. “We have to consider what’s best for this team as well. We’re talking about a lot of different options. I don’t think any decisions have been made yet.”
One of the Mets’ depth starters, Corey Oswalt, landed on the Triple-A DL on Friday with a lat issue. Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman came to spring training as starters, but the Mets have refrained from stretching them out again because of their success in the bullpen.
The Mets similarly are hesitant to move Vargas — who signed a two-year, $16-million deal in February — to relief.
“I think he can be successful in a bullpen if that’s what we needed him to do,” Ricco said. “But we prefer him to be a starter. That’s why we signed him.”