Lowrie, in leg brace, non-committal about 2020

Canó hoping to return to form, avoid leg injuries; Mets host Special Olympics baseball clinic

February 16th, 2020

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Almost a year to the day after initially feeling soreness in the back of his left knee, reported to Mets camp Sunday wearing a bulky brace that ran nearly two feet from his left ankle up to his mid-thigh. He fielded ground balls and made a few throws at second base before leaving to prepare for New York’s first day of full-squad workouts Monday.

What happens next is anyone’s guess. Speaking publicly for the first time since September, Lowrie spoke in generalities about his health for nearly five minutes. After an offseason of rest and rehab, he could not commit to being ready to play in Grapefruit League games, let alone Opening Day. Asked directly if he is 100 percent, Lowrie replied: “I’m just excited to be here, get back out on the field with the guys and just take it day by day.

“We’re just going to manage the symptoms right now,” Lowrie continued. “That’s all I’m worried about.”

Asked what those symptoms are, Lowrie said he did not want to “get into specifics.” He acknowledged that his left knee, which has sidelined him for roughly a year, remains the root cause of his physical problems. Last season, Lowrie also suffered from various aches up and down the left side of his body, as well as a right calf strain. In the first season of a two-year, $20 million contract, Lowrie made eight pinch-hit plate appearances. He finished 0-for-7 with a walk.

This offseason, Lowrie said, he worked with a “good routine,” but he would not reveal details of what that routine was.

“It’s obviously not something that I expected,” Lowrie said, “but you make the best of what your reality is.”

The Mets, who are well-covered with Jeff McNeil, Amed Rosario, , Eduardo Núñez, Luis Guillorme and others, do not necessarily need Lowrie to complete their infield mix. But they have received zero value on his contract to date, and they would like to see that change. Last month, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said he was “optimistic in having him participate in a meaningful way in Spring Training,” but Lowrie gave no indications on Monday that he might be able to do so.

The brace, Lowrie said, “alleviates my symptoms and makes me feel like myself.” He does not know if it will limit him on the field, because he has not attempted to play games while wearing it. Pretty much everything, Lowrie said, is “day to day.

“I’m just going to manage the symptoms and do everything I can to help wherever I can.”

Leg up on the competition
Canó spent his offseason strengthening his legs at home in the Dominican Republic, in hopes of avoiding the types of major muscle pulls that kept him sidelined for much of 2019. Canó, who spent time on the injured list due to left quad and hamstring injuries, believes he is capable -- even at age 37 -- of more than the .256 average and 13 home runs he contributed last season.

“I know if I’m healthy, I can be myself,” Canó said. “I can be the Robbie that you guys are always used to seeing play this game.”

Giving back
Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Michael Conforto, Dominic Smith and J.D. Davis were among more than a dozen Mets to take part in a baseball clinic for Special Olympic athletes and their families Sunday at Clover Park. The Mets worked with children and adults at various stations, including ones for pitching, infield, outfield and batting work.