Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera landed on the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday with a sprained left thumb, and outfielder Michael Conforto did not start for a second straight game with a stiff back.
But outfielder Yoenis Cespedes started against the Cubs, one day after soreness in his left heel forced him out of a game after the fifth inning. It was perhaps the only break that went the Mets’ way as they began another round of having to work around a few banged-up bodies.
Cabrera went to the DL last month with the same thumb injury, which he aggravated over the weekend against the Braves. Instead of promoting top prospect Amed Rosario from Triple-A Las Vegas, the Mets called up infielder T.J. Rivera.
Pain in Cabrera’s bothersome thumb gave the switch-hitter trouble on Saturday, while batting righthanded against Braves lefty Sean Newcomb. It happened again on Sunday against another lefthander, Jaime Garcia.
Cabrera aroused suspicion from teammates when he attempted several bunts, all to avoid swinging from the right side, even though he hit a pair of homers on Monday night.
“I just need time,” said Cabrera, who was set to have a cortisone shot on Tuesday.
With the Mets facing consecutive lefthanded starters beginning on Tuesday night, and with the likelihood of more southpaws on the horizon, Cabrera was sent to the DL.
“We need to get him better,” manager Terry Collins said. “If this rest quiets the thumb down to where he can hit righthanded, he’s going to help us.”
With Cabrera down, Jose Reyes will return to the starting lineup at shortstop in what may be his last opportunity at extended playing time.
Meanwhile, even with Cespedes back in the lineup after Monday’s scare, the Mets must wait-and-see with another important outfielder in Conforto. He has been dealing with an achy back and was not expected to be available Tuesday night for pinch-hitting duty.
“He feels better but still, he still feels it,” Collins said. “We’re going to have him take it easy today and hopefully it starts to disperse better tomorrow.”