Starling Marte is not close to returning to the Mets because the migraine issues that have sidelined him since early last week have lingered, manager Buck Showalter said Thursday.
On the day Marte was eligible to be activated from the injured list, the messaging around his status suddenly became ominous, with Showalter noting that Marte might seek a second opinion about the underlying cause of his head problems.
“It’s not imminent,” Showalter said of Marte’s comeback. “I know they’re talking about making sure they got everything right, the diagnosis with the migraines and stuff . . . The fallout is, let’s make sure we know why you had them that close together. We’ve done a lot of testing . . . It’s not something you can just take a test for. It’s not like an X-ray.”
Marte seemed to be recovering well, including hitting and running the bases on the field at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday.
But he has encountered additional migraines “on a lesser scale” this week, Showalter said. Marte probably will wait until the birth of his child, which could happen at any point, before getting a second opinion, he added.
Asked if he was concerned that the Mets are not positive what is wrong with Marte, Showalter said no.
“Everybody wants to be sure,” he said.
Bumped from the rotation to the bullpen a couple of weeks ago, David Peterson is less worried about the titles of starter versus reliever and more pleased that he remains a major-leaguer, not a minor-leaguer.
He views himself as a starter, but this is fine for the time being, he said. Being a bullpen arm in the minors is better than being a starting pitcher in Triple-A.
“I’ve thought about it, but my goal is to be a starter,” he said. “That, long-term, is the picture I see: continue to be a starter. Because I think I can. It’s a position I like being in. But then I think, OK, if I have a long career as a starter, there’s a lot of times if we’re in spots, say we’re in the playoffs, I’m going to have to come out of the bullpen at some point probably. This experience only helps me going forward, no matter what role I’m in.”
Showalter agreed, mentioning that Peterson would be up next if the Mets needed a fill-in starter: “He can do both, but we view him as a starter right now.”
In the meantime, Peterson has impressed in his for-now job, at least from Showalter’s perspective. In four games, he has posted a scoreless appearance twice and allowed a run in each of the other two. He has six strikeouts (three walks) in four innings.
He also has checked a couple of important reliever boxes: pitching on consecutive days and three times in four days, coming through the other side feeling fine physically.
“These last couple outings out there, he’s looked — knock on wood — pretty comfortable,” Showalter said.
Peterson said: “It takes a little bit to switch over to that mentality, but I feel back in the groove in the bullpen again . . . I’ve done a good job in terms of managing how much I’m throwing between appearances. That’s been a pretty smooth process for me.”
Francisco Alvarez’s absence from the lineup was about managing his workload, according to Showalter, not any aftereffects of getting hit on the hand by a pitch Tuesday. He is scheduled to sit Sunday, too. Alvarez has started 68 games at catcher this year, on pace to blow by his career-high 77 from last year. “I want to be careful there,” Showalter said. “If you don’t watch it, he’s going to make a really big jump.” . . . Tommy Pham (right groin injury) also did not start but will play leftfield Friday, per Showalter . . . Reliever Sam Coonrod (torn right lat) will make his next appearance with Triple-A Syracuse, Showalter said. In four games with Low-A St. Lucie, Coonrod allowed no runs, one hit and one walk (six strikeouts) in four innings.