Mets acting general manager Zack Scott was able to provide a clearer injury picture for the beaten down club Monday and let’s just say it wasn’t a particularly pretty one.
Both Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil suffered "significant hamstring strains" a little over a week ago and are expected to be out for another month, Scott said. Meanwhile, the nerve issue in Brandon Nimmo’s finger continues to linger, and the team is trying to find a way to navigate the "sharp pain" that can make it difficult for him to hit. Carlos Carrasco is not expected back until late June or early July and Luis Guillorme likely needs to undergo further imaging on his strained right oblique.
"They’ll be out for a while," Scott said of Conforto and McNeil, both of whom hurt themselves against the Rays while playing on the concrete turf at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. They were put on the injured list May 17. "I know they’re working hard to get back but if I’m putting a timeframe on that, we’re probably looking at late June."
The slew of injuries — and the ones mentioned only begin to touch the surface — mean that Scott is being tested very early in his tenure. The GM said he’s being proactive in looking for further options because, realistically, the Mets likely will not continue winning with a ragtag crew that tests the durability of their depth chart.
"We’re exploring all options," Scott said. "I’m pretty much on the phone all day, every day. We’ve got to find the best solutions, always. That’s really the job of baseball operations . . . so yeah, we’re trying to find the best internal options and the best external options and trying to get the best out of the guys that we have."
On Monday, that even meant starting catcher James McCann at first base, even though he’d never played there in his professional career. Manager Luis Rojas said they wanted McCann’s bat in against lefthander Austin Gomber, but also couldn’t afford to sacrifice catcher Tomas Nido, who entered the game hitting .279 and currently is one of the Mets' most formidable offensive threats.
Rojas said McCann took some grounders there during spring training and began working there again with third-base coach Gary DiSarcina when Pete Alonso went down with his sprained hand Friday. Alonso could be back as soon as he’s eligible next week, Scott said. Rojas was more tentative, but did say that Alonso had finally begun swinging with both hands.
"That’s a position that, I’m going to say he’s familiar with, even though he hasn’t played there professionally," Rojas said of McCann. "He’s worked there before. He looks good to us. So, I don’t think there’s going to be anything compromised with him playing first. From a defensive standpoint, we feel pretty good."
As for Nimmo, Scott said the Mets are working on pain management. "It’s something that’s going to need some time," Scott said. "We’ve gotta figure out where he can get to a tolerance where he can play."
All of which means Scott needs to continue working the phones, despite being months away from the trade deadline — something that makes moves more difficult, as teams still are evaluating their talent and where they are in the standings. Some clubs, though, have seemed open to negotiation.
"There’s only so many layers of depth you can rely on," Scott said. "It’s a hard way to play every day . . . I’m aware that adding some additional talent is important and we’re going to try to do that. It’s not completely in our control. It takes two parties to match up. But the effort is definitely being put forth."
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