“We just gave him the day off from hitting,” manager Luis Rojas said. “He did some defensive work so he’s getting treatment, so we’re just going to consider him now on a day-to-day status as far as that. So let’s see how he shows up [Thursday].”
Sounding relatively unconcerned about his left fielder’s prognosis, Rojas noted that Smith spent significant time working with outfield coach Tony Tarasco on his route efficiency and reads off the bat, despite the injury. Smith wore a light sleeve on his wrist during those activities, but not a brace.
“I thought it was a productive day for him,” Rojas said. “We’ll just need to repeat that the most we can. … If he’s not in the game, we’ll want to simulate as much as we can.”
According to his manager, Smith has dealt with right wrist issues previously, even while mustering a homer during Tuesday’s win over the Marlins. In eight Grapefruit League games, Smith is batting .182 with eight strikeouts in 22 plate appearances, though two of his four hits have gone over the fence. He’s coming off his best season in the Majors, with a .316/.377/.616 slash line and 10 home runs over 50 games.
“He actually said it’s something he’s had in the past, so it’s probably from a swing,” Rojas said. “The number of swings these guys are taking on a daily basis is very much different than what they’re doing in the offseason. So it’s ramping up [the] number of swings per day and things like that, and that’s how he showed up -- just general soreness and movement in his wrist.”
As if the Mets’ back-end rotation competition weren’t already complicated enough, Joey Lucchesi further clouded it with three shutout innings in Wednesday’s loss. Lucchesi walked two but struck out four and didn't allow a hit.
An offseason trade acquisition from the Padres, the left-handed Lucchesi has been battling David Peterson, Jordan Yamamoto and several others for a spot in New York’s rotation. Peterson entered camp with an edge due to his 2020 performance as a rookie, but he struggled in his last outing, allowing three runs in four innings. The Mets’ desire to limit the innings of Peterson, who threw just 49 2/3 last season, could also hurt his prospects.
Yamamoto has enjoyed the finest spring of the three, posting a 1.08 ERA through 8 1/3 innings, but Mets officials consider his ceiling lower than those of the other two. Lucchesi is the most established pitcher of the bunch, with 299 1/3 career innings to his credit.
“We’ve got a lot of good pitchers in the clubhouse,” Lucchesi said. “I’m just out here doing my thing. I believe in myself and have faith, so I’m just doing what I can and let my work take care of itself.”
Much of the competition depends upon Carlos Carrasco, who has been bothered by right elbow soreness and is scheduled to throw a live bullpen session on Thursday. Carrasco has said he expects to be ready to make his first rotation turn in April, but he is rapidly running out of time to stretch out as a starter. If Carrasco opens the season on the injured list, it would clear room for both Peterson and Lucchesi to make the team.
· Yennsy Díaz, one of the pitchers the Mets acquired for Steven Matz this winter, allowed a walk-off homer to Joe Dunand in Wednesday’s game. Díaz is not a realistic candidate to make the Opening Day roster, but he could appear for the Mets later this summer.
· Reliever Seth Lugo continues to rehab from February surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow, but he is not scheduled to begin throwing for roughly another two weeks.
“He’s progressing very well with treatment, as far as range of motion and things like that,” Rojas said.
· To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the Mets wore green hats and socks for their game against the Marlins.