PITTSBURGH — Juan Lagares has been diagnosed with a partially torn ligament in his left thumb, leaving the Mets to play the waiting game for a few more days.
Instead of placing him on the disabled list, the Mets hope to learn if he can play through it, essentially delaying surgery until the offseason. If not, he would be in line to go under the knife, potentially sidelining him for two months or more.
For now, the Mets will play a man short, as they have done frequently of late. Terry Collins said Lagares can be used immediately as a pinch runner and a defensive replacement.
Assistant general manager John Ricco said the swelling in Lagares’ thumb must be given a chance to subside before he can test his ability to play through the condition. He noted that the injured thumb is on Lagares’ glove hand and is the bottom hand on the bat.
“There’s a good chance he’ll be able to play with it,” Ricco said. “But we won’t know until some of the swelling gets out of there and he gets a chance to see how he feels.”
Lagares injured himself while making what proved to be a game-saving diving catch Saturday against the Marlins.
Yoenis Cespedes was penciled into the starting lineup for Monday night’s game — which was rained out — for the first time since Friday. Since then, a sore hip had relegated him to one pinch-hitting appearance on Sunday . . . Travis d’Arnaud (strained right rotator cuff) is expected to begin catching in minor-league rehab games in about a week, Ricco said. He has been limited to DH duties because he is not yet throwing at full speed. His rehab assignment ends on June 26, when the Mets must bring him back to the big leagues . . . Catcher Rene Rivera has assumed a more prominent role, taking playing time away from the struggling Kevin Plawecki. Before the rainout, Rivera was slated to start for the fourth time in the last five games.