Carlos Carrasco has been experiencing some body aches since receiving his second COVID-19 vaccine this week, but it’s his achy right elbow that will keep him sidelined in the coming days.
Mets manager Luis Rojas revealed Wednesday that the right-hander has been dealing with “some soreness” in the elbow since he threw live batting practice on Monday, though Rojas added that the issue is “nothing too concerning” for the club at this point.
“It is something that he’s felt in the past, and [after] just a few days [off] from throwing and treatment, we'll bring him back,” Rojas said. “We expect him to be back facing batters by the end of next week.”
Carrasco won’t undergo an MRI or any other tests, Rojas said, as the 33-year-old pitcher said he has experienced similar issues during previous Spring Trainings. Carrasco had not mentioned any elbow issues prior to this latest flare-up, Rojas said.
“This is a guy that is a veteran; he knows his body, he knows his arm,” Rojas said. “This is a guy that has been through a lot of seasons, a lot of Spring Trainings, so if he's telling us that this is something that he has gone through, at the level of concern that he has, we're pretty comfortable with him putting the plan together of the days off and then going back at it when he needs to.”
In the event that Carrasco is not able to pitch when the season begins, Rojas listed Jordan Yamamoto, Joey Lucchesi and Jerad Eickhoff as potential options to take his spot in the rotation until he’s ready.
“We'd rather be on the cautious side always, make sure that we're safe for the long run,” Rojas said. “This year, we're playing a marathon again; we want Cookie to be healthy, which is the approach that we're thinking and he's thinking right now.”
Taking their time
Dominic Smith has yet to play left field in a Grapefruit League game, but that should change in the near future.
Smith has played first base and served as the designated hitter, but Rojas expects him to play the majority of his games in left field from now through the end of the spring.
“We’re getting the work in,” Rojas said. “We'll be seeing him play more and more starting probably this weekend or next week. I'm comfortable with him, and the more playing time we can get him there, the better.”
While mentioning Smith’s injury history -- he missed two months in 2019 with a stress reaction in his left foot -- Rojas noted that the Mets are doing their part to make sure the slugger stays healthy.
“We know that it is a long season, a 162-game marathon, so they’re putting the best plan together to make sure that I'm healthy the full season and that you know nothing flares up,” Smith said. “I came into camp a couple of days late, so I have some catch-up to do. I have to make sure my legs are under me and make sure that I don't run into any speed bumps along the way.”
Learning from Lindor
Ronny Mauricio, MLB Pipeline’s No. 67 overall prospect, has been soaking in advice this spring from some of his veteran teammates, most notably Francisco Lindor.
“I've learned a whole bunch from him,” Mauricio said through an interpreter. “Just being able to watch him play, being able to train with him there at short, I've just been able to take little things away from him so I can implement it in my game.”
Lindor’s presence on the Mets' roster -- and the much-talked-about potential for a long-term extension -- could cloud Mauricio’s future with the organization. Mauricio, a shortstop who turns 20 on April 4, said he’s open to the idea of changing positions if the Mets ask him to, though he’s uncertain whether second base or third base -- or another position -- would suit him best.
“I think about it, but at the same time, it's not going to take away from my goals of reaching the Major Leagues,” Mauricio said when asked about potentially being blocked by Lindor. “I have to just focus on myself, focus on my game to keep improving every single season. If I can switch positions, I’ll feel comfortable there as well. But God willing, I’m just going to continue to improve and I'll be able to make it to the Major Leagues and achieve my dream the way that I want to.”
The Mets will travel to West Palm Beach, Fla., on Thursday to face the Astros at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, as Jacob deGrom will make the trip for his second start of the spring. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. ET.
deGrom threw two scoreless innings in his spring debut against the same team in the same ballpark on Saturday, the same day the Mets tabbed him as their Opening Day starter.