MIAMI — Starling Marte finally went on the injured list Saturday, and he’ll stay there for a week — at least.
Manager Buck Showalter pushed back against the assumption that Marte, who has a fractured right middle finger, would return immediately when he is eligible to do so, which is next Saturday.
“There’s always that hope,” Showalter said. “I just caution everybody, he’s got a broken finger, OK? And it hurts. Some of the swelling went down today, but he could not do any baseball activity. I wouldn’t say that’s a given, after the seven-plus days, that he’s going to be a player. He’s going to have to play with some discomfort if and when he does.”
He compared that to the situations managed by Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil. Lindor fractured the tip of a finger in June, sat out for a day and resumed playing regularly (though he hit poorly in the weeks after). McNeil got a cut on his right (throwing) thumb last month but played through it, manning second base for every inning of every game for weeks.
Marte’s injury is worse — and a different type of finger fracture than that suffered by Lindor, Showalter said.
However long he is out, Marte’s absence is a significant one for the Mets. The 33-year-old was their regular No. 2 hitter and in an All-Star season — statistically one of the best of his career — is hitting .292 with a .347 OBP and .468 slugging percentage.
With Marte missing, the Mets called up prospect Mark Vientos, who plays third and first, to fill his roster spot. Tyler Naquin started in rightfield for a fourth consecutive game Saturday against the Marlins. Darin Ruf worked out there during pregame drills.
Since joining the Mets in early August, Ruf mostly has been a designated hitter but has played a handful of games at first base (and one in leftfield). Showalter views Ruf as an option in right, where he has played 40 games across eight seasons in the majors but not with any regularity since 2013 with the Phillies.
Marte got hurt Tuesday when a 96-mph fastball from Pittsburgh’s Mitch Keller hit him on the hand. He hadn’t played since, with the Mets hoping he would heal fast enough to avoid the IL. But when he was still unable to swing a bat or throw a ball on Saturday, they decided to make a move, strengthening what had been a particularly limited bench.
Because Marte’s stint on the 10-day IL is backdated to Wednesday, he only needs to stay there another week.
Less mad Max
Max Scherzer has restarted throwing — lightly on Friday, his first time, and in earnest Saturday. He said he felt fine.
Sidelined by left side irritation, which he has said is different from and not related to the left oblique strain he suffered in May, Scherzer may return as early as Sept. 19, when the Mets open a series in Milwaukee.
Mr. Smith goes to Binghamton
Drew Smith tossed a scoreless inning for Double-A Binghamton on Saturday, his first rehab appearance since being diagnosed with a strained right lat in late July. He allowed one hit and struck out two batters.
If his time in the minors goes well, Smith is due back in the next week or two.
Luis Guillorme, rehabbing his strained left groin with Triple-A Syracuse, had a day off Saturday and was scheduled to play Sunday before the Mets decide whether to bring him back to the majors.