Mets give Rosario break to work on approach

Starting shortstop expected back in lineup after couple days off

June 24th, 2018

NEW YORK -- Displeased with their young shortstop's approach at the plate, the Mets are giving a mental breather.

Manager Mickey Callaway held Rosario out of Sunday's lineup against the Dodgers, and plans to bench him on Monday as well. The Mets want Rosario to work with hitting coach Pat Roessler on his free-swinging approach at the plate, which has resulted in no walks over his last 52 plate appearances.

Overall, Rosario is batting .246/.272/.363, but just .212/.235/.303 in June.

"We brought him in and talked to him, sat him down," Callaway said. "We're going to make sure we take these couple days to work on some things in his overall game. This young kid's still trying to develop at the Major League level. These couple days will allow him to get some work done in the cage, some work on the field tomorrow, things like that. So we thought this would be really good for him."

' recent thawing at the plate gave the Mets an excuse to start him over Rosario, who is in his first full season as the team's unquestioned starting shortstop. Though Rosario has thrived at times this year, his overall struggles have the Mets concerned about the former top prospect's long-term outlook.

"We're taking the opportunity to allow him a couple of days off, partly for his sake and partly because Reyes has been playing well," Callaway said.

"It's something that I understand," Rosario said through an interpreter. "I understand that it's something that will help me, and I agree with that."

Long rehab ahead

Five days after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery, reliever AJ Ramos returned to the Mets' clubhouse Sunday wearing a heavy sling on his right arm. Ramos, who will be a free agent after this season, estimated that his rehab from the operation will take a year to a year and a half.

At age 31, Ramos understands that his baseball future is in doubt. But he hopes to sign in the offseason with a team that believes he can be of value once he heals.

"I'm a guy that likes to pitch under pressure," Ramos said. "My whole career, you look at my numbers, I'm better under pressure. So now this is something that's a big pressure on me to get back -- not only to get back, but to pitch at the level that I know I can. So that's something that I'm focusing on. Now my back's against the wall, so how am I going to respond to this?"

As far back as last September, Ramos said, he had experienced shoulder pain. It continued into Spring Training and intensified during the regular season, as he became one of Callaway's most-used relievers while posting a 6.41 ERA over 28 appearances. Only in late May did Ramos go for an MRI, which revealed a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

"People don't come back from this very well," Ramos said. "They gave me a good prognosis, they gave me good chances and everything, but still there is that chance that I can't. When you're in danger of having something taken away from you that you've been playing your whole life, you're going to fight a little harder."

Syndergaard progressing

threw off a mound Sunday for the first time since enduring a setback in his rehab from a strained right index finger. Syndergaard, who has not pitched since May 25, will advance soon to facing live batters and, ultimately, a Minor League rehab assignment. He could return as soon as early July.