WASHINGTON — Wilmer Flores has been shut down for the rest of the season with what Mets manager Mickey Callaway called “early onset arthritis in both knees.”
Callaway made the announcement about the fan favorite’s status before the Mets’ 5-4, 12-inning win over Washington at Nationals Park on Thursday night.
Flores left the Mets earlier this week to get tested in Manhattan at the Hospital for Special Surgery after saying he had pain in both knees. He received pain-reducing injections.
“I don’t think it’s really going to affect me [in the future],” Flores said after returning to the club. “I had to take care of this right away. It was going on for a while. I was just trying to stay out there playing, but at this point of the season I didn’t see any reason [to wait]. My decision was to start taking care of this. [The doctor] said it should take a month for me to be ready, to be pain-free. That was it.”
Flores, 27, signed with the Mets out of Venezuela when he was 16. He was the starting shortstop on the 2015 World Series team, but has been a part-time player the last three seasons. Callaway said the Mets do not yet know how the diagnosis will affect Flores’ future.
“We haven’t gotten into that deep,” Callaway said. “But the doctors at this point just kind of recommended this course of action . . . I don’t know the in-depth specifics of it, but it’s not like surgery is recommended at this time or anything. I think that rest and a couple of injections is supposed to knock this out pretty good.”
Flores has been mainly a corner infielder and pinch hitter this season, his sixth in the big leagues. He hit .267 with 11 home runs, 51 RBIs and a .736 OPS in 126 games.
Flores would seem to be going into 2019 as a righthanded bat off the bench if the Mets have lefthanded hitters at first base (Jay Bruce) and second base (Jeff McNeil), as it currently appears they will. Flores is certain he’ll be ready well before spring training.
“The doctor said that with the injections it should feel better,” he said. “Hopefully, it’s not something I have to deal with my whole career. I’m going to do everything I can to keep the pain away.”