Third baseman Jose Reyes landed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a strained left intercostal muscle, leaving the Mets without another important bat in the lineup.
In response, the Mets signed Justin Ruggiano, a righthanded-hitting outfielder who started in centerfield and went 1-for-3 Saturday night against the Rockies.
Reyes has been bothered by the intercostal issue since Tuesday. He had held out hope of avoiding a DL stint, but the switch hitter had lingering trouble swinging from the right side, prompting the move.
“It’s really disappointing,” said Reyes, who believes he’ll be ready to return at the end of his 15-day stint, which is retroactive to Wednesday. “I’m disappointed because I want to be on the field, I want to be playing.”
Reyes, 33, was hitting .239 in 16 games since his return to the Mets, who brought him back into the fold despite the aftermath of his offseason arrest for domestic violence.
“We hope we caught it early enough so that he didn’t overdo it, that it’s only a couple of weeks,” manager Terry Collins said. “Like I said, from the one side, he looks great. Everything’s fine. From the other side, he’s really, really hesitant to swing. So we will just keep an eye on him and let him rest that side.”
Ruggiano, 34, lands with the Mets after being marooned at the Rangers’ Triple-A Round Rock affiliate. Though he began the season in the majors, he was sent down shortly after Opening Day, losing out on playing time when Ian Desmond made the successful conversion from shortstop to the outfield.
Ruggiano hit .226 for Round Rock before his release last week. He has played parts of eight seasons with six big-league teams and brings a track record of hitting lefties, a useful skill considering the Mets’ suddenly lefty-heavy outfield.
“The National League suits my game a little better, coming off the bench and pinch hitting, playing all three positions in the outfield,” Ruggiano said. “I’m excited to be here right now.”
Ruggiano was drafted by the Dodgers and has history with Collins, who was then the team’s minor-league coordinator. He remembers Collins as a “straight shooter” and in the past has expressed an interest in playing for him.
“He’s what we’re looking for,” Collins said. “We needed a righthanded bat here . . . Hopefully, he’ll be a nice piece for us.”
Righthander Matt Harvey, who is out for the season after surgery, was moved to the 60-day DL in a procedural move to clear space for Ruggiano on the 40-man roster.