Newsday's Mets beat reporter Tim Healey talks from spring training about Mets reliever Seth Lugo's fractured left pinky toe on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2020. Credit: Newsday / Tim Healey; Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa Loarca

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — OK, now spring training really has begun.

The Mets were dealt their first weird injury of camp Tuesday when an X-ray revealed that reliever Seth Lugo has a fractured left pinky toe. He will take “probably” three days off from throwing, manager Luis Rojas said, and won’t participate in at least the early exhibition games, which start Saturday.

“There’s no concern at all,” Rojas said.

Rojas said that Lugo told the Mets he banged his foot against something in his hotel Monday night. Upon arriving at Clover Park on Tuesday, he alerted the Mets’ athletic training staff, which sent him for tests.

“He came this morning and he voiced it,” Rojas said.

Lugo, who had been scheduled to pitch live batting practice Wednesday, was fitted for a padded cleat that the Mets expect will help him upon his return. The fracture — which Rojas said multiple times was small — is in an awkward spot, since the left foot is his landing foot when the righthanded Lugo throws a pitch.

For the past two seasons, which generally have been disastrous for the Mets’ bullpen, Lugo has been the team’s best reliever and one of the best in the majors. He had a 2.68 ERA and 0.998 WHIP in 115 games (including five starts in 2018), often pitching multiple innings in a game and sometimes serving as the closer late last season.

Heading into 2020, Lugo is a key piece in the back end of the bullpen, which features question marks in Edwin Diaz (bad last year), Dellin Betances (injured last year) and Jeurys Familia (bad last year). Justin Wilson, who had a 2.54 ERA, also returns.

Extra bases

At a time of year when pitchers are thought to be more prepared than hitters, Michael Conforto has homered off Michael Wacha and Rick Porcello during live batting practice the past two days. “Those sweet swings — it's something that you fall in love with from the first time you see it,” Rojas said. “I like where he is right now.” . . . Rojas said he “of course” would be comfortable with J.D. Davis starting regularly at third base, if circumstances required it. Davis received personal instruction at his primary position over the offseason from Mets infield coach Gary DiSarcina . . .   A vocal and cheery Marcus Stroman appeared to enjoy bunting practice more than any of the other 10 or so pitchers to participate Tuesday. Said Robert Gsellman upon whiffing on his first attempt: “Sorry. It’s been, like, a year.”


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