Mets acting general manager Zack Scott was able to provide a clearer, if painful, injury picture for his beaten-down club Monday afternoon — and once the game actually started, it somehow got even worse.
Both Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil suffered "significant hamstring strains" earlier this month and are expected to be out until late June, Scott said. The nerve issue in Brandon Nimmo’s finger continues to linger, and the team is trying to find a way to navigate the "sharp pain."
Then Johneshwy Fargas, who has been a pleasant surprise, crashed into the wall in the fourth inning of the Mets’ 3-2 loss to the Rockies. He was diagnosed with a left AC joint sprain — an injury to the ligaments connecting the shoulder blade to the collarbone — and will undergo an MRI Tuesday.
The Mets have lost three in a row and have 16 players on the injured list.
The Mets were down 3-0 before mounting a comeback with solo home runs by James McCann in the seventh and pinch hitter Brandon Drury in the ninth, both off Rockies starter Austin Gomber. Patrick Mazeika singled to put the tying run on with none out in the ninth, but Carlos Estevez made quick work of Jonathan Villar, Francisco Lindor and McCann to end it.
"It’s challenging," Luis Rojas said. "We ran out of players and we had to [give the] pitchers a heads-up in case something happened . . . [in case] they had to play a position if we tied a game or went to extras . . . It’s tough."
Try as they might, the Mets did look like a team playing with its third- or fourth- or even fifth-string players. They managed only four hits against Gomber, who came into the game with a 4.96 ERA. The Rockies were 2-17 on the road before Monday.
David Peterson gave up solo homers by Ryan McMahon and Elias Diaz in the second. That inning could have been worse if not for an unlikely play: With one out, McCann, in the first play as a first baseman of his professional career, made a diving stop in the hole and got the out at first to keep the bases clear before Diaz’s two-out homer.
The Rockies tacked on another run in the fourth. With a runner on first, Garrett Hampson hit a ball to the track in centerfield. Fargas, on the play in which he was injured, seemed to have it tracked but pulled back at the last second before careening into the wall for what ended up being a run-scoring triple.
The Rockies made significant hard contact against Peterson, but the damage was limited. He pitched six innings, allowing three runs and five hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
The slew of injuries means that Scott is being tested early in his tenure. He said he’s being proactive in looking for further options because, realistically, the Mets likely will not be able to continue winning with a ragtag crew that has tested the durability of their depth chart.
"We’re exploring all options," Scott said. "I’m pretty much on the phone all day every day. We’ve got to find the best solutions, always. We’re trying to find the best internal options and the best external options."
On Monday, that meant McCann at first, even though he hadn’t played there since college. Rojas said he could be back at first on Tuesday.
"I’m going to say he’s familiar with [playing there] even though he hasn’t played there professionally," Rojas said. "He’s worked there before. He looks good to us. I don’t think there’s going to be anything compromised with him playing first."
As for Nimmo, Scott said the Mets are working on pain management. It’s "going to need some time," Scott said. "We’ve got to figure out where he can get to a tolerance where he can play."
Which means Scott needs to continue working the phones despite being months away from the trade deadline, something that makes moves more difficult as teams evaluate their talent and where they stand.
Said Scott, "There’s only so many layers of depth you can rely on,'' Scott said. "It’s a hard way to play every day . . . I’m aware that adding some additional talent is important and we’re going to try to do that. It’s not completely in our control. It takes two parties to match up. But the effort is definitely being put forth."
Sign up for Newsday’s Mets Messages for updates directly to your phone via text, free with a Newsday digital subscription. Learn more at newsday.com/metstext.