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Mets starter David Peterson breaks foot, might miss rest of season

Mets starting pitcher David Peterson reacts after Phillies

Mets starting pitcher David Peterson reacts after Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper hits a solo home run during the sixth inning in Game 2 of an MLB doubleheader at Citi Field on June 25. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

David Peterson will have surgery after breaking his right foot while walking — just walking — in a freak accident, manager Luis Rojas said Saturday.

Already on the injured list due to a strained right oblique, Peterson was on his way to the Mets’ clubhouse Friday night when he "felt a pop," according to Rojas. He neither stubbed his toes nor stepped on anything. He was simply walking.

Rojas said nobody in the Mets’ medical department had seen anything like it.

An X-ray revealed a Jones fracture of Peterson’s fifth metatarsal, the bone leading into the pinky toe. The Mets transferred him to the 60-day IL on Saturday.

"He was very frustrated. He didn’t understand how this could happen," Rojas said. "Then once this thing happens, all you want to do is, ‘OK, what do we do?’ He changed his demeanor to that.

"It was tough to hear in the moment and very shocking of course. But he’s going to have surgery down there. They say these things can heal quick. It could, but we gotta wait for the surgery and see how he responds."

The Mets aren’t sure if Peterson, a 25-year-old lefthander, will pitch again this year.

"I can’t give you an answer there. I’m sorry," Rojas said. "Listening to the doctor last night, we know all the experience our doctor has, and telling us these things heal quick. We still gotta wait for surgery and see how he responds. People feel differently when it comes down to a timetable. That will be the case here.

"We just don’t know. Let’s see how he responds after surgery and how long it takes before he’s throwing and he’s progressing into pitching again. We’ll have a better feel."

In relaying the details a day later, Rojas still seemed stunned at how it happened. He saw Peterson in the trainers’ room after the Mets’ win against the Blue Jays on Friday and, when he saw him with a doctor, thought they were discussing his oblique.

And then he noticed Peterson’s walking boot.

"That’s when I heard the story of what happened," Rojas said.

In his sophomore season, Peterson has a 5.54 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in 15 starts. He seemed to be turning it around — three consecutive starts of one run allowed or fewer — until the day he hurt his oblique, June 30, when he pitched poorly at Atlanta.

Peterson was not close to returning when he broke his foot, but he was supposed to reach a rehab milestone this weekend by throwing off of a mound. He had spent the previous couple of weeks limited to playing catch.

The 2021 ineffectiveness marked a steep dropoff from his rookie performance during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, when he was a surprise including in the season-opening rotation and went on to posted a 3.44 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 10 games (nine starts).

Not having Peterson for at least most of the rest of the season ups the importance of lefthander Rich Hill, acquired via trade with the Rays, and anybody else the Mets add ahead of the trade deadline on Friday.

For now, the Mets are rolling with a four-man rotation: Hill, Taijuan Walker, Tylor Megill and Marcus Stroman.

Everyone else is hurt. That includes Carlos Carrasco (torn right hamstring), Jacob deGrom (tight right forearm) and Noah Syndergaard (Tommy John surgery) — and, now, the re-injured Peterson.

"It was one of those freak injuries," Rojas said. "That’s how we can call this one."

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