ATLANTA — The Mets played shorthanded again Tuesday, with a left groin problem preventing Starling Marte from returning to the lineup or even being available off the bench, he said, for a third game in a row.
But Marte noted that, despite an ongoing conversation with team decision-makers about the injured list, his pain has lessened each day and he anticipated playing against the Cubs, a series that starts Thursday. He exited with groin issue Saturday and hasn’t played since.
The Mets, meanwhile, are getting by with what is functionally a three-man bench.
“I’m perfectly comfortable because we have other people capable of filling in,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I don’t really look at it as (being) short. But I can see how somebody would think of it that way.”
Marte said he was undecided about playing in the All-Star Game next Tuesday — he is one of four Mets to earn the honor — but definitely will go to Los Angeles and participate in the goings-on either way.
“Play or no play, it doesn’t matter,” he said. “Just enjoy and have fun.”
With some moving pieces, including Marte’s day-to-day status and Jeff McNeil being on the paternity list, the Mets have a bit of a funky roster setup. They are carrying both Travis Jankowski, who started in rightfield again Tuesday night in Marte’s place, and Ender Inciarte despite them filling similar roles. Their only backup infielder is J.D. Davis, who would go to third base if needed (with others moving around).
Fresh off his first pitching-three-days-in-a-row stretch in more than a year, Edwin Diaz’s numbers remain gawk-worthy: 1.73 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 18.1 strikeouts per nine innings. For his last 10 appearances, he has 20 strikeouts and one walk and hasn’t allowed a run. In pitching perfect innings Saturday, Sunday and Monday, he threw a combined 29 pitches.
Diaz told Showalter he was available again Tuesday, but the manager wasn’t ready to take him up on that. That Diaz went three consecutive days was about his or any reliever’s limit, at least in July.
“I’ve said many times, it’s about stretching out the good times and shortening the bad times,” Showalter said. “He looks like he doesn’t want to go into any of those bad times. It’s hard to do what he’s done for over half the season. He’s been pretty solid for us.”
Showalter wasn’t sure if McNeil would return Thursday after the maximum three-day stay on the paternity list. The McNeils hadn’t had their baby as of Tuesday afternoon. If a player needs more than three days, he technically moves to the restricted list . . . The Home Run Derby on Monday is set to have a strong NL East flavor. Officially joining Pete Alonso and Ronald Acuna Jr. as participants: the Nationals’ Juan Soto and the Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber, plus the Cardinals’ Albert Pujols.