NEW YORK -- Eight months after signing a two-year, $20 million deal with the Mets, infielder Jed Lowrie made his season debut.
The Mets activated Lowrie from the injured list on Saturday, also recalling reliever Drew Gagnon from Triple-A Syracuse. For the foreseeable future, Lowrie will serve in a part-time role as he looks to work his way back to 100 percent -- as he did in striking out in his only plate appearance in Saturday's 5-0 loss to the Phillies -- but the Mets are hopeful he will be able to contribute to their playoff push regardless.
“I’m still kind of building up this progression,” Lowrie said. “For me, it was just about being confident enough to go out there and be able to help the team win however I can.”
Lowrie, 35, had not played this season prior to Saturday due to a medley of leg and left side injuries, which initially surfaced in Spring Training. His woes began with a sprained left knee capsule, continued with a left hamstring strain and eventually a right calf strain, all of which conspired to sideline him for most of this summer.
Lowrie resurfaced on a Minor League rehab assignment on Aug. 20, playing in parts of 12 games for Class A Advanced St. Lucie, Triple-A Syracuse and Short-Season Class A Brooklyn, whose playoff run allowed him to extend his rehab assignment. While rehabbing, Lowrie played second and third base as well as shortstop.
“It’s been frustrating,” Lowrie said. “I’ve had multiple setbacks, but you just find a way to keep moving forward. … I’m feeling better, and I’m just excited to be back and do whatever I can to help this team win. That’s what it’s all about.”
In New York, Lowrie gives the Mets a switch-hitting option off the bench, plus a potential starter at multiple positions. He served as a pinch-hitter in the fourth inning Saturday, striking out as a right-handed batter against Phillies lefty Drew Smyly.
Lowrie hit .267 with 23 home runs and 99 RBIs last year for the A’s but is nearly a full year removed from that campaign. No matter what Lowrie does down the stretch, the Mets are still counting on him to be a significant part of their 2020 team.
“I’m certainly not a young player anymore,” Lowrie said. “You just try to manage the best that you can. I’m here to do whatever I can the rest of the year, continue to progress and hopefully go into the offseason in a strong position.”
Smith stays hopeful
To make room for Lowrie on their 40-man roster, the Mets transferred Dominic Smith to the 60-day IL, making him ineligible to play until Sept. 25. Smith, who clarified Saturday that he is rehabbing from a stress fracture in his left foot -- not a less serious stress reaction, as the Mets announced -- hopes to return at that time.
“I haven’t played in a long time and I miss the game,” Smith said. “I miss playing it. I just want to get back out there and play.”
Smith, who was batting .278 with 10 home runs in 88 games prior to his injury, can restart a running and hitting progression on Wednesday. He will undergo a follow-up CT scan on Sept. 25 and is hopeful doctors will clear him after reading those test results. At that point, only five games will remain in the Mets’ regular season, but Smith considers them significant for him.
“When it came out that it was a stress fracture, we already knew the timeline,” Smith said. “They said I’d probably be done for the year. I pushed it and I wanted to come back this year. This is something that I wanted to do. That’s why I pushed so hard and worked so hard to try to come back before the year was up.”
Good as gold
The Mets wore gold ribbon decals and wristbands on Saturday as part of Major League Baseball’s “Childhood Cancer Awareness Day.” The league-wide event is in recognition of Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), which has named September Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
Members of the Elizabeth, N.J., Little League team, which represented the Mid-Atlantic Region in the Little League World Series last month, were at Citi Field on Saturday to watch batting practice and meet members of the Mets. Among those who spent time with them was Todd Frazier, whose Toms River team won the 1998 Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.