Are the Mets in a place where they need to...

Are the Mets in a place where they need to attach young, cheap talent in a deal to move a more expensive player like Jed Lowrie in a deal? Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — One year after Jed Lowrie experienced knee soreness that the Mets said wasn’t a big deal, he arrived at spring training Sunday wearing a large brace on his left leg and refused to say what is wrong, what symptoms he is experiencing and when he thinks he will play in games.

Lowrie, who was hitless in seven at-bats last season, was evasive even when asked if it is fair to say there is some degree of uncertainty regarding his health.

“It’s always kind of a fluid situation anyway, and like I said, I’m just going to go out there and do everything that I can,” said Lowrie, who noted that he plans to participate in the Mets’ first full-squad workout Monday. “As of now, we’re just building up with that intent.”

General manager Brodie Van Wagenen was slightly more open but not quite as optimistic. He said the infielder took ground balls at second base, threw from 150 feet and hit in the batting cage Sunday.

“He’s moving well. He’s gained real strength in that knee,” Van Wagenen said in North Port. “He’s had a full offseason of strength growth and progression, and we’ll have to continue to do that and work him through those drills over the course of the coming days and see where we are.”

Lowrie walked with a limp despite donning a contraption that runs from the middle of his thigh to his lower shin. Van Wagenen called it “finally the piece of the puzzle that allowed him to start progress in his baseball activities.”

Its creation was a team effort between the Mets’ medical department and Lowrie’s personal athletic training staff in Houston, according to the GM.

The brace, Lowrie said, alleviates his symptoms and “makes me feel like myself.”

What are those symptoms?

“I don’t want to get into specifics of symptoms,” he said.

Asked about the root cause of the symptoms, Lowrie said “the knee,” which is a body part, not a physical ailment.

What specifically is wrong with his knee?

“I’m just worried about managing the symptoms and doing everything I can,” he said.

Is managing the symptoms enough if there is an underlying issue?

“I’m just going to manage the symptoms best that I can,” he said.

A left knee sprain was Lowrie’s first injury last year. Then came hamstring, calf and hip issues. He went through several stops and starts during his rehabilitation and eventually came off the injured list Sept. 7. In nine games, he reached base once (on a walk) in eight plate appearances and never played in the field.

When the season ended, Lowrie “got back into my good routine,” he said. Asked to elaborate, he said he was doing physical therapy.  “The physical therapy that I needed to do to get ready for a season,” he said.

Lowrie said he and manager Luis Rojas have not discussed which positions he will play the most. Because of his health, it is not clear when that question will be relevant to the major-league team. If Lowrie isn’t ready for Opening Day, it bodes well for Luis Guillorme, an infielder who has spent parts of the past two seasons in the majors.

The Mets signed Lowrie — a former longtime Van Wagenen client — to a two-year, $20 million contract in January 2019. At the time, he was coming off perhaps the two best and healthiest seasons of his career, including a spot in the All-Star Game in 2018.

The hitting ability that has carried his career won’t go away because of leg problems, Van Wagenen said.

He added, “The real question will be, can he have his legs underneath him to be able to participate in the National League on a consistent basis at multiple positions?”

With David Lennon


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