NEW YORK -- Over the past two weeks, following a second opinion on his right groin strain, Starling Marte’s optimism for a quick return has waned. Marte, who recently expressed confidence in his ability to play again this season, was more muted when asked again prior to Friday’s series opener against the Angels.
At the very least, Marte indicated he’s not close to a return.
“We don’t know yet,” Marte said through an interpreter when asked if he will play in September. “It could be. It could not be. We’re just trying to go through the proper procedures and the proper methods and the proper training to be able to get to that point. But right now, it’s too early to tell.”
Earlier this week, Marte received a second injection on the right side of his groin, which has been bothering him acutely since he went on the injured list in early August. The second injection was targeted to a specific area, differentiating it from the first one that Marte had received two weeks earlier.
More generally, Marte has not felt fully healthy all season. The veteran outfielder underwent surgery on both sides of his groin last offseason, was behind the rest of his teammates early in Spring Training and has said on multiple occasions that discomfort in his groin has lingered.
Asked if he will need additional surgery this offseason, Marte responded: “It’s complicated. That’s a conversation that’s going to have to be had with the trainers. I’m sure they’re talking about it. They’re having meetings about it. They probably know better than I do.”
Whatever happens with Marte over the next two months, the Mets have incentive to find a permanent solution. Under contract for another two years and $41.5 million, Marte projects as the team’s starting outfielder through 2025 -- provided he is healthy enough to take that job. Last year, Marte received MVP votes for a season that saw him produce an .815 OPS with 16 homers in 118 games. This year, Marte has played in only 86 games with five homers and a .625 OPS.