Conforto, McNeil exit early with injuries

May 16th, 2021

The Mets were hit hard by injuries Sunday afternoon, when right fielder and designated hitter left early in the 7-1 loss to the Rays because of hamstring injuries.

Conforto exited in the first inning at Tropicana Field with right hamstring tightness, and McNeil left in the third with left hamstring tightness. It’s not known if either will go on the injured list. Both will get an MRI exam after the team arrives in Atlanta on Monday to begin a three-game series against the Braves.

“Right now, hamstring issues are no joke,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said. “We want to see how they go through the day. … You are definitely concerned. You are talking about a few days. But we want to have those results so we can start talking about a timeline or what kind of approach that we take starting [Monday].”

No matter what the test results are, it appears the Mets will need some reserves against the Braves. After Conforto and McNeil went down, New York was left with one player on its bench, catcher Tomás Nido.

“There [are] going to be more conversations. We are moving to the National League game again,” Rojas said. "There are going to be some moving parts, and we are going to need that depth.”

The injuries started in the first inning. With McNeil on first base, Conforto hit into an inning-ending double play, and he pulled up and began limping after crossing first base. He was replaced in the bottom half of the inning by Jake Hager, who was called up from Triple-A Syracuse on Saturday.

There was no indication that Conforto was injured before Sunday’s game, although he complained to Rojas that the turf at The Trop was different.

“He said [the turf] is hard out there,” Rojas recalled. “He was playing all the games, moving around, coming from right field to the third-base dugout. But there was nothing specific that was bothering him. I thought he had a good chance to beat out the double play. When he got into gear, that’s when he felt it on the hamstring.”

McNeil came out of the game in the third inning for pinch-hitter Patrick Mazeika.

McNeil said before the game that he was feeling much better after hamstring and back cramps forced him to leave Tuesday’s game against the Orioles after the third inning. McNeil, who had returned to the lineup as the DH on Friday, had taken the day off Saturday as a precaution.

“We were trying to be smart about not forcing him to play on the field. That’s why we had him DH,” Rojas said. “… He did his sprints pregame. He felt great. There was nothing anywhere. He wanted to get his legs on the field."

McNeil said he felt OK running down the line on his first-inning single until he was close to the bag.

“Nothing bad. It was just something we have to take a look at,” McNeil said. “I don’t think it’s anything major. It’s just some tightness. I really didn’t feel a pull. It’s something we have to take a look at and get through.”