Mets centerfielder Juan Lagares likely is headed to the disabled list Friday with a lingering thumb injury that the team has long feared will require surgery, a source confirmed.
Brandon Nimmo has been summoned to replace Lagares, who tried playing through a partially torn ligament in his left thumb, originally suffered when he dived for a ball on June 4.
Lagares’ first attempt to avoid surgery and play through the injury landed him on the disabled list for nearly three weeks. But since his return in early July, he is hitting .170 with a homer and two RBIs.
Nimmo, 23, hit .235 in 16 games during his first stint with the Mets. He has played centerfield in the minors.
Lagares’ injury is the latest in what has been an unyielding wave of physical issues plaguing the Mets.
Yoenis Cespedes is dealing with a quadriceps injury that has kept him from playing centerfield. Alejandro De Aza and Michael Conforto are the Mets’ other choices in centerfield, though the loss of Lagares leaves the Mets with only lefthanded-hitting centerfielders.
Jose Reyes and Cespedes likely will miss multiple games because of their respective injuries, leaving an already offensively woebegone lineup even more vulnerable.
“I talked to the trainers before I left and they said there’s just no way he’s going to be able to play [Thursday],” Terry Collins said of Reyes, who suffered a Grade 1 left intercostal strain on Tuesday night and was sore from an injection. “That would scare me to the point that I’m not sure he’ll be able to play [Friday night].”
If that wasn’t enough, Cespedes told his manager after Wednesday night’s game that something didn’t feel quite right. “[He] said it was starting to bother him bad,” Collins said. “He said, ‘My leg is pretty sore tonight’ and I knew I just had to give him a day . . . We’ve got to try to do the best we can to keep him in the lineup.”
Cespedes pinch hit in the seventh Thursday and was intentionally walked.
Conforto out of lineup
Though Conforto did not get the start against a lefty, Collins said he understands the need to acclimate him to those pitchers. “This guy is the future here,” Collins said of Conforto, who struck out pinch hitting in the ninth. “He’s the prospect. You’ve got to get him in there against some lefthanded pitching or else he’s not going to hit against lefthanded pitching . . . I think we’ve got to give ourselves the best opportunity to win this game today, and Michael has just struggled against lefties.”