The uncertainty surrounding Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer's injured left knee has revived internal discussions about fast-tracking top prospect Michael Conforto to the majors, according to multiple sources.
For now, an immediate promotion to the Mets seems unlikely. But that thinking would shift quickly if the Mets send Cuddyer to the disabled list.
"That's certainly in consideration, I'm not saying it's not," manager Terry Collins said before last night's game. "We don't want to push the panic button yet if this guy wakes up and all of a sudden feels better."
Cuddyer, 36, who walked as a pinch hitter in the ninth and scored, reported that the pain from his injury was "somewhat the same" even though a new round of anti-inflammatory medication was administered to help the bone bruise in his troublesome knee.
Cuddyer's fate is unsettled enough that general manager Sandy Alderson is again weighing a Conforto promotion -- a shift from even a few days ago.
The Mets desperately need an infusion of talent for an offense that has dragged down the starting rotation that has emerged as one of the best in baseball.
But within the organization, there is concern that Conforto might not be ready to make the jump to the majors despite his success since a promotion to Double-A Binghamton.
Conforto, 22, is hitting .317 with five homers and 25 RBIs. He was the 10th overall pick in last year's draft out of Oregon State.
Some within the Mets hierarchy appear open to promoting Conforto for a few weeks, thus allowing his performance to determine whether he sticks around. But others point to the pressure he could face to immediately revive one of the NL's most underwhelming offenses.
That pressure could also be amplified by an upcoming schedule that includes the Dodgers and Nationals.
Promoting top prospects with relatively thin minor-league resumes is hardly unprecedented. The Cubs have twice promoted catching prospect Kyle Schwarber, who has done well in the majors.
But the expectations could be somewhat different with Conforto, who would be expected to play a prominent role in a weak lineup.
However, even rival scouts who believe the Mets should exercise patience with Conforto concede that if promoted, he could handle the challenge.
"That bat plays," said one evaluator, who believes Conforto's advanced hitting approach would give him a chance of competing against big-league pitching.