Leading off the fifth inning, Báez grimaced as he grounded a ball to second base. He did not attempt to run to first, instead bending over and then spinning around in obvious pain before retreating to the dugout. Báez then did not return to the field for the bottom of the inning, as J.D. Davis entered at third base and Jonathan Villar shifted from third to short.
Although the Mets harbored plenty of initial concern for Báez, according to manager Luis Rojas, he responded well to treatment over the course of the game. For now, Báez is day to day.
“The concern at this point is not as high as what it was when it happened in-game,” Rojas said. “When I saw him not moving out of the box, for me it was concerning. I thought it was an oblique. … He just told me that he felt tightness. It locked up immediately as he was approaching the dugout. … We’re more optimistic now about what it was.”
The Mets’ most significant Trade Deadline acquisition, Báez was batting .176 with two home runs in nine games since joining the team, coming up with multiple clutch hits but also struggling to provide consistent production. He has been starting at shortstop every day with Francisco Lindor nursing a strained right oblique, despite Báez dealing with a nagging left heel injury of his own.
If Báez misses additional time while Lindor remains sidelined, Villar would be the Mets’ only real short-term option at shortstop. Another backup, Luis Guillorme, is currently on the IL due to a left hamstring strain, while José Peraza is nursing a fractured right middle finger. Shortly after Báez departed on Sunday, the Mets pulled shortstop Wilfredo Tovar from his game at Triple-A Syracuse. Tovar can meet the Mets in New York if needed, giving them another option for Tuesday’s series opener against the Nationals.