Mets' Mauricio will need surgery after tearing ACL

December 12th, 2023

NEW YORK -- , a promising Mets prospect who was a candidate to become the team’s everyday third baseman as soon as Opening Day, has suffered a torn ACL in his right knee and will require surgery, the team announced Tuesday. Although the Mets declined to estimate a timeline for Mauricio’s recovery, the injury will almost certainly keep him out for the start of the season.

Mauricio was playing for Licey in the Dominican Winter League on Sunday when he fell while taking a secondary lead off first base. Following a chat with trainers, Mauricio walked off the field under his own power, but subsequent testing revealed the ligament tear. Such injuries typically require six months to a year before an athlete can return to play, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Mauricio, the Mets’ fourth-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline, debuted in September with a .248/.296/.347 slash line over 26 games. The 22-year-old infielder played three different positions, trying out second and third base in addition to his natural position of shortstop. He had been set to compete with Brett Baty and Mark Vientos for the Mets’ Opening Day third-base job. Now, with Mauricio sidelined during Spring Training, Baty and Vientos will jockey for reps alongside veteran Joey Wendle, whom the Mets recently signed to a one-year contract.

Entering the offseason, some uncertainty existed if Mauricio would play winter ball given his nonstop baseball schedule over the previous year. After appearing in a career-high 123 games for Double-A Binghamton in 2022, Mauricio played in 46 more for Licey last winter, winning Dominican Winter League MVP honors. He subsequently appeared in 17 Grapefruit League games this spring, taking little time off between seasons, followed by 142 more at Triple-A and the Majors.

Still, Mets president of baseball operations David Stearns said in November, the benefits of Mauricio returning to winter ball outweighed the risks.

“He is taking some time [off] now and he’s not going to play all winter, so we’ll make sure he gets sufficient recovery time,” Stearns said at the time. “But I also think especially for some of these younger players, reps matter. So if you can play at a high-level winter ball league, sometimes with significant pressure on you, that’s not a bad thing.”