SAN FRANCISCO -- Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who refrained from baseball activities for 30 days following a second epidural injection in his neck, began swinging a bat this week. That represents tangible progress for Nimmo, though the Mets do not expect him to begin playing in even Minor League games
SAN FRANCISCO -- Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who refrained from baseball activities for 30 days following a second epidural injection in his neck, began swinging a bat this week. That represents tangible progress for Nimmo, though the Mets do not expect him to begin playing in even Minor League games until next month.
The Mets’ Opening Day leadoff hitter and starting left fielder, Nimmo initially began experiencing neck pain after he ran into SunTrust Park’s outfield fence in Atlanta on April 14. For weeks, Nimmo attempted to play through the issue, before the team’s medical staff diagnosed him in mid-May with a bulging cervical disc. A month later, with his discomfort lingering, Nimmo flew to Los Angeles for a meeting with spinal expert Dr. Robert Watkins, who advised a complete shutdown from baseball activities.
“I’m 26 years old. I had never had neck problems like this before,” Nimmo said in May. “I take a lot of really good care of my body to try and prevent that stuff from happening, to warm it up. And so I was just like, ‘Man, why does this keep happening?’”
While the Mets have been cautious to put any sort of timetable on Nimmo’s return, it appears unlikely he would come off the injured list much before rosters expand in September.
Playing through varying levels of discomfort throughout the early season, Nimmo posted a .200/.344/.323 slash line with three home runs in 43 games.
Major League Baseball reduced Mets reliever Jacob Rhame’s suspension from two games to one. Rhame served the suspension, which he received for throwing near the head of Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins on April 23, on Thursday, during the Mets’ series opener against the Giants.
After MLB issued its initial suspension, the Mets optioned Rhame to Triple-A Syracuse, delaying his appeal nearly three months until the team recalled him this week.
On the mend
Starting pitcher Zack Wheeler played catch off flat ground on Thursday for the second consecutive day, attempting to work his way back from a right shoulder impingement. While the Mets do not have a timeline for Wheeler’s return to the rotation, they are hopeful his absence will not last long.
“We’ll just see how this plays out with him,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “Obviously playing catch and continuing to play catch dictates a lot of what goes on next. So we’ll just feel him out day to day, and see where we’re at.”
The team announced that rookie Walker Lockett will replace Wheeler in the rotation Saturday against the Giants. In two prior starts for the Mets, Lockett went 0-1 with an 11.74 ERA.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.