GM Scott talks Mets' injuries, search for help

McCann manned first base for first time in pro ball in opener against Rockies

May 24th, 2021

NEW YORK -- With injuries making the Mets’ daily lineups more representative of Grapefruit League games than regular-season affairs, general manager Zack Scott has been, in his words, “pretty much on the phone all day, every day” in an attempt to patch together a reasonable roster. Many injured Mets -- including Carlos Carrasco, Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil -- are likely to remain sidelined for another month or more. As such, Scott has busied himself searching for replacements.

“We’re trying to find the best internal options, the best external options, trying to get the most out of the guys that we have,” Scott said. “It’s really all of the above.”

Over the past week, the Mets have turned over nearly a third of their active roster, though only one of the newcomers -- outfielder Cameron Maybin -- was an acquisition from outside the organization. The problem with making deals at this time of year, vs. closer to the July 31 Trade Deadline, is that most teams are still trying to gauge whether they will be a contender. As such, few clubs are willing to part with useful pieces.

Still, Scott said, “There’s teams that are open. ... We’ll see where that goes.”

What’s clear is that the Mets can use as much help as they can find, with few of their injured players due back anytime soon. A slew of updates, from Scott:

• Carrasco (torn right hamstring), who was originally slated to return by late April or early May, is now looking at a best-case scenario of late June or early July. Scott said that although Carrasco never suffered a new injury, his leg simply hasn’t responded to increased activity.

• Conforto (strained right hamstring) and McNeil (strained left hamstring) “will be out a while,” according to Scott, who painted late June as a best-case scenario for those two.

• Outfielder Brandon Nimmo (left hand nerve issue) remains sidelined indefinitely as the Mets try to find a way to alleviate his pain.

Others, such as first baseman Pete Alonso (the Mets are “shooting for next week,” per Scott), infielders J.D. Davis and Luis Guillorme (on or close to rehab assignments) and reliever Seth Lugo (due back as soon as he’s eligible on May 31) could return sooner. But even if those players do rejoin the Mets in the coming weeks, the team will still be missing some of its most significant pieces. As such, Scott and team president Sandy Alderson will continue to canvass the early trade market, looking to see if upgrades can be found.

“The bigger challenge is there’s a big need right now,” Scott said. “You only have so many bullets to use in trades. You only have so many players you’re willing to trade. You only have sometimes so many dollars that you’re willing to take on. There are always those limitations with every team. And so it’s whether you’re using those bullets now, vs. waiting. And the risk of waiting, given all our injuries, is that we’re in a different spot, and not where we want to be, come the end of July.”

Position change
Given all the Mets’ injuries, starting catcher James McCann started a game at first base on Monday for the first time in his professional career. McCann’s only previous experience playing anything other than catcher or designated hitter occurred back in 2014, when he manned third base for three innings of a Minor League game.

Because of their lack of healthy bodies, the Mets wanted to find a way to insert both McCann and backup catcher Tomás Nido into the lineup. Thus, club officials approached McCann over the weekend about the possibility of him trying first.

“He was very outgoing about playing there,” manager Luis Rojas said.

All systems go
Jacob deGrom will not face any restrictions when he returns from the IL to start Tuesday against the Rockies. Although the Mets will monitor deGrom closely given the right side tightness that sidelined him for two weeks, they do not plan to implement any pitch-count or innings limits for his first start back.

Giving back
In recognition of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the Mets hosted an event a Citi Field in which 10 Asian-owned small businesses received $10,000 grants to support their operations and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The company Fiserv issued the grants.

“We are proud that our home in Flushing is also home to more Asian and Pacific Islander New Yorkers than any neighborhood in the City,” Alderson said in a statement. “These grants will bring awareness and assist minority-owned businesses to get back to business. We also continue to raise our voices against any form of anti-Asian violence.”