One MRI exam and two shots later, Michael Cuddyer isn't worried.
The Mets' leftfielder sustained a left knee injury in the first inning of Tuesday's game against the Cubs, forcing his exit in the seventh. He said Wednesday he expects to return to the Mets' lineup within the next few days after receiving a cortisone shot and a lubricant injection.
"Best-case scenario was what they said," Cuddyer said of his diagnosis. He dismissed talk that cartilage was affected, saying his treatment was "just kind of like an oil change."
Cuddyer said he was told pain and side effects shouldn't linger. The plan now is to "see how [the knee] responds tomorrow and go day to day from there."
No time on the disabled list is good news for a Mets team that hasn't had much of it in the injury department. The team activated Daniel Murphy from the DL Tuesday, but David Wright and Travis d'Arnaud remain injured.
Cuddyer, who went 0-for-2 on Tuesday, is batting .243 with six home runs and 28 RBIs. The 36-year-old has been slumping with two hits in his last 21 at-bats over the last seven games. John Mayberry Jr., who entered the game batting .185, replaced Cuddyer in leftfield against Cubs lefty Jon Lester.
Manager Terry Collins said Cuddyer and the rest of his team might be internalizing things at the plate, putting more pressure on themselves to perform in the absence of injured players.
"He's not hitting like we thought he might or like he wants to. I think he will," Collins said of Cuddyer. "We're talking about a guy who missed the majority of last year [with injuries] and I think he just knows how many at-bats it's going to take to get back in the groove.
"So I think he will certainly do it. But he brings some intangibles to our team that we need right now, and that's that calmness. As he gets it going, I hope he understands he's made a huge impact in other ways in that clubhouse."
Cuddyer isn't making excuses for his play, saying, "if I'm out there competing, I should be producing."
"I'm preparing myself to play, I'm working hard every single day," he said. "Obviously production, you want that, but if you know a guy's out there doing everything he can to produce, never taking a play off and still continuing to play hard through good and bad times, that's what you can ask from a player."
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