NEW YORK -- With outfielder Brandon Nimmo’s right hip discomfort lingering into a second week, the Mets opted to be proactive about the issue. On Monday’s team off day, Nimmo received an injection in his hip, which required 24-48 hours to take effect.
As such, Nimmo, who has an NL-best .477 on-base percentage, was out of Tuesday’s starting lineup against the Red Sox. The team expected him to be available off the bench; to that end, Nimmo busied himself during batting practice by taking full swings in the cage, shagging fly balls in the outfield and participating in baserunning drills. To the naked eye, he showed no ill effects from the injection.
The hip issue first began bothering Nimmo last week in Chicago, when it cost him two days from the starting lineup. He returned to his customary leadoff spot on Friday, going 3-for-5 with a home run, four RBIs and two runs in support of Jacob deGrom. But after starting the next two days as well, Nimmo continued to feel discomfort in his hip.
A subsequent MRI revealed what manager Luis Rojas termed a “mild impingement.” Because the Mets had a scheduled off day on Monday, they decided to administer the injection immediately. Rojas said he did not know if it was cortisone or some other medication.
“The decision so we don’t have to deal with this, he doesn’t have to deal with this more, was to have a shot this week knowing that we’re going to have the two days off,” Rojas said.
In part because of Nimmo’s injury, and in part because the Mets are temporarily operating with a four-man rotation, the Mets optioned reliever Stephen Tarpley to their alternate site and recalled infielder José Peraza. A six-year veteran of the Reds, Dodgers and Red Sox, Peraza spent a brief time on the active roster earlier this month but did not appear in a game.
Tarpley struggled in his lone appearance, retiring none of the four batters he faced.
Pitcher eighth (again)
One other byproduct of Nimmo’s absence was that Rojas, for the second time this season, batted his pitcher eighth instead of ninth. This time it was David Peterson, who slotted in front of Nimmo’s backup, Kevin Pillar, in the lineup.
The thinking had less to do with Peterson and more with Pillar, who is one of the freest swingers in the Mets’ lineup. Rojas wanted to protect Pillar by having him bat ahead of Francisco Lindor -- who led off for the first time this season -- instead of the pitcher. He also wanted to increase Pillar’s opportunities to steal bases, which he wouldn’t often do with the pitcher batting.
From the trainer’s room
Carlos Carrasco will make at least one more rehab start in an intrasquad or simulated game at the team’s Spring Training site in Port St. Lucie, Fla. After that, team officials will reassess the status of Carrasco, who has yet to debut after tearing his right hamstring in Spring Training.
Mets general manager Zack Scott has said he expects Carrasco back around the second week of May.
Mets players, coaches, and other Tier 1 staffers will receive their second doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine after their game on Thursday evening. Although the Mets do not know if they will vaccinate enough Tier 1 individuals this summer to meet Major League Baseball’s 85 percent threshold for relaxed clubhouse procedures, a sizeable contingent did receive the first dose three weeks ago.
“I know that’s still a work in progress,” said Rojas, who will be among those receiving the second dose. “There’s guys getting educated about it. We’ve done a good job, I think, educating. I’ve learned a lot of it. We’ve had different sessions with specialists, and we’ve also had different sessions with Q&As about some of the things that lead to the decision of taking the vaccine.”
The Mets strategically scheduled their second doses with nearly 48 hours before their ensuing game, allowing for plenty of time to minimize side effects.
Clubs were informed just before Opening Day that MLB and the MLBPA have agreed to relax certain health and safety protocols contained in the 2021 Operations Manual for fully vaccinated Tier 1 Individuals and for clubs where 85 percent of their Tier 1 Individuals are fully vaccinated. This applies to all players and staff who are considered Tier 1, including those at the alternate site. As part of that memo, players and staff were again strongly encouraged to receive one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines when eligible.