Less than two weeks after straining his right hamstring, Brandon Nimmo returned to the Mets’ lineup Friday, far sooner than he or the team’s medical personnel initially expected.
In the Mets’ 4-3 loss to the Phillies, Nimmo went 1-for-5 from the No. 2 spot — behind Jonathan Villar — which had become his new offensive home before he got hurt.
Manager Luis Rojas said "we’ll see" how much Nimmo’s workload has to be managed. Nimmo admitted after the game he was sore and hinted he might sit out Saturday. The Mets activated him without sending him on a minor-league rehabilitation assignment, their late-season norm with starting position players.
"We’ll see the workload, everything that happens in the game starting tonight," Rojas said Friday afternoon. "And we’ll see about that. We have a few days off ahead of us, so that might help cushion some of his playing time and all of that as we’re nearing the end of the season. And obviously, we need his presence in the lineup to score some runs. We gotta win all these games."
The Mets’ days off should make it relatively easy to ease Nimmo back in. He could, say, sit Saturday, play Sunday and have the team’s day off Monday. Then he could play Tuesday and Wednesday in Boston, take advantage of another team day off Thursday and play all weekend in Milwaukee.
The Mets sent righthander Jake Reed to Triple-A Syracuse to make room on the active roster for Nimmo.
The Mets’ other roster moves were purely on-paper ones: Jordan Yamamoto (right shoulder soreness) was activated from the 60-day IL and sent to Syracuse. He was already with that club as he finished a rehab assignment.
To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, the Mets called up lefthander Thomas Szapucki and put him on the 60-day IL. That means he will earn about a half-month of major-league pay and service time, even though he hasn’t pitched at any level since mid-July after having ulnar nerve transposition surgery.
Daily deGrom (and Noah)
Noah Syndergaard is scheduled to face batters for a second time this weekend, though Rojas said they hadn’t decided if that would be on a rehab assignment or during live batting practice at Citi Field.
After a day of light catch Friday, Jacob deGrom is penciled in for another bullpen session "in the next couple days here," Rojas said.
In a pinch
With Villar entrenched at third base, J.D. Davis seems to have taken well to a bench role, including being among the most active Mets on the field before the game, taking extra batting practice and doing additional infield drills and whatnot.
Heading into play Friday, Davis was 9-for-20 with three doubles and a walk as a pinch hitter. He and Dominic Smith have become Rojas’ go-to choices in those situations.
"Just getting his swings in, getting his timing in, doing some game-speed stuff so when he gets a chance to go in there, he goes there and plays the way he’s playing," Rojas said. "He’s done a really good job for us. He understands the situation right now. There’s nothing more to ask from JD. He’s been great."
Marcus Stroman will pitch Tuesday, a week after his most recent start, with the Mets giving him extra rest afforded by days off instead of using him as frequently as possible ... Rojas backed up Jeff McNeil’s recent sentiment that he has been an unlucky hitter this year. "The [advanced] numbers presented to him show similarities from years past," Rojas said "That helps his peace of mind when he’s working and he’s on a search, just for him to know that there’s not too much of a difference between his approach a few years back to this year, and that he’s not too far from probably getting to where he wants to get."
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