PHILADELPHIA -- Drew Gagnon's reward for a 97-pitch, bullpen-saving relief outing on three days’ rest? A trip back to the Minors.
As expected, the Mets optioned Gagnon on Wednesday morning, recalling right-hander Jacob Rhame to provide the bullpen with a fresh arm. Gagnon entered in the first inning Tuesday in relief of Steven Matz, who allowed eight runs without recording an out. In following Matz with 5 1/3 innings, Gagnon prevented the Mets from having to use any of their higher-leverage relievers in the 14-3 loss.
“He did a great job last night,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said, explaining the roster move. “He probably saved us for the next week. But we just had to.”
Back at Syracuse, Gagnon will continue working as a starting pitcher, with a chance to come back up later this season if the Mets need a rotation arm.
Rhame, 26, shuttled back and forth frequently from Triple-A last season, posting a 5.85 ERA in 30 games at the big league level. He posted a 9.53 ERA over his first six outings at Syracuse this season.
Pain in the neck
Brandon Nimmo woke up Wednesday feeling about the same as he did the night before, when neck stiffness forced him out of Tuesday's game in the first inning. He anticipated a day of rest and medication, after receiving muscle relaxers on Tuesday.
“I was hoping I’d wake up feeling a lot better,” Nimmo said, “but [the training staff] said they were kind of expecting me not to be ready to go today.”
Still, Nimmo said he does not anticipate the injury requiring a stay on the injured list. His hope is that a day of rest Wednesday, followed by Thursday’s team off-day, will be enough for him to recover. Serving mostly as the Mets’ leadoff hitter, Nimmo is batting .241 with three home runs and a .388 on-base percentage in 17 games.
• Todd Frazier was scheduled to appear in his 11th Minor League rehab game on Wednesday as he continues his slow recovery from a strained left oblique. Callaway said the delay is due to Frazier still being less than 100 percent, and not because of the Mets’ 25-man roster crunch. Frazier could return as soon as Friday in St. Louis.
“As soon as he feels ready and feels comfortable, he’ll be here,” Callaway said.
• Jed Lowrie, who has been traveling with the team as he recovers from a sprained left knee capsule, flew down to Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Wednesday to ramp up his rehab. Lowrie is scheduled to take live batting practice Friday and Saturday as he draws closer to a Minor League rehab assignment.
One of the Mets’ key offseason signings, Lowrie hit .267 with an .801 OPS in a career-high 157 games last season in Oakland. He has not been able to replicate that durability with the Mets, however, suffering his knee injury in the opening days of Spring Training.