The best season of Dominic Smith’s career came to a sudden stop Saturday.
The first baseman/leftfielder went on the injured list with a stress reaction — a precursor to a stress fracture — in his left foot. Smith said he doesn’t know how long he will be out, but further doctor visits, including a CT scan, Monday should provide clarity.
After his left foot bothered him for about a week, Smith mentioned it to the Mets’ medical staff Friday night, he said. An MRI revealed the stress reaction.
“Definitely surprised. It's definitely a bummer,” said Smith, who was wearing a walking boot Saturday afternoon. “Something I didn't think was this severe. I woke up [Saturday] morning, I felt really good. My foot felt really good since the last couple days. I was excited about today. Then to get in and hear the news, it just hurt. It hurt a lot. I'm very disappointed, very sad. I'm just going to do everything I can to get back out there as soon as I can.”
Smith said he feels the pain in his biggest toes when he runs, walks and pushes off.
“Like everything on my back foot,” Smith said. “Every movement that I do athletically, I feel it. So it was definitely affecting me but we all play through stuff. That's not an excuse or anything. I didn't even want to tell them because I wanted to play. I didn't want this to happen. It definitely affected me and they stepped in [Friday] when I finally told them.”
That might help explain Smith’s recent struggles, both in the field — where he made a game-ending error last week in San Francisco and had a multi-error game at Citi Field this week — and at the plate. This month, Smith is hitting .167 with a .182 OBP and .315 slugging percentage.
Smith has hit well enough overall this year — .278/.352/.506 — that the Mets have been playing him in left to keep his bat in the lineup. He had asked since spring training to take practice reps there, with Pete Alonso emerging at first base, but Mets decision-makers didn’t allow him to play there until late May.
Smith said he isn’t sure what caused the injury.
“They said it can happen any way,” Smith said. “Been doing a lot of early work, just playing the game hard. It wasn’t one play that did it. So I don’t know. Like I said, I didn’t think it would be this.
“A week ago, I thought I needed a massage for my feet or something of that sort. We’re on our feet all day wearing cleats. So that’s something that we do to just stay fresh and stuff like that. Like I said, I didn’t think much of it. Turns out to be what it is.”
The Mets called up outfielder Aaron Altherr from Triple-A Syracuse to replace Smith on the 25-man roster. In Smith’s absence, the Mets will use some combination of J.D. Davis, Altherr and Juan Lagares (in centerfield with others shifting to the corners), manager Mickey Callaway said.
Ruff day at work
A day after practically begging his wife during a batting practice video-chat session, Jeff McNeil got what he wanted Saturday: a puppy.
McNeil and his wife, Tatiana, decided to adopt a rescued dog from North Shore Animal League America in Port Washington. That pup was among those who visited Citi Field on Friday, capturing McNeil’s attention. He playfully credited his home run that night to having just held a puppy.
It was an easy sell on his wife as soon as they visited the shelter Saturday, McNeil said.
“Once she picked her up, it was game over,” McNeil said. “I’m happy.”
The McNeils are open to suggestions on what to name their new pet.
Brandon Nimmo (bulging disc) is continuing his baseball activities, Callaway said, but is “a ways away” from getting into a game. “He's doing more and more hitting off a tee, hitting in the cage, things like that, running around, taking fly balls. Just normal baseball activity at this point,” Callaway said … In MLB Pipeline’s updated prospect rankings, shortstop Ronny Mauricio (No. 84), third baseman Brett Baty (No. 85) and shortstop Andres Gimenez (No. 94) made the top-100 list. Rounding out the Mets’ top five were lefthander/Long Island native Anthony Kay and righthander Matthew Allan … A new addition to the Mets’ clubhouse: a ping-pong table.