Batting in the sixth inning, McNeil dropped his bat in pain when Marlins reliever Josh Smith struck him on the wrist with an 88.8 mph fastball. McNeil, who is tied for fourth in the Majors with 21 hit-by-pitches, took a few steps toward first base before dropping into a crouch. Following a conversation with a member of the Mets’ training staff, McNeil departed and underwent an X-ray, which revealed a right distal ulna fracture.
“He was in pain,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. “It was a no-brainer to get him out of the game.”
So ended McNeil’s season with a team-leading .318 batting average, 23 home runs and 75 RBIs. For a large portion of the summer, McNeil led the Majors in the batting race, only to fall behind Christian Yelich, Ketel Marte and Anthony Rendon in recent weeks. All but Rendon are now inactive due to injuries.
“He’s a gritty guy, a blue-collar guy, and he’s going to use that as motivation to come back next year even stronger,” teammate Pete Alonso said.
Entering the season, the Mets’ acquisitions of Robinson Canó and Jed Lowrie threatened to push McNeil to the fringes of the Mets’ roster. But injuries afforded McNeil early playing time, and his bat kept him in the lineup -- even sending him to the All-Star Game -- after that. Along the way, McNeil proved adept defensively at three different positions: second base, third base and left field. His final three games before his season-ending injury included starts at all three.
McNeil, who departed Citi Field with a cast on his wrist, was unavailable for comment late Wednesday. He plans to address the end of his season on Thursday, according to a team spokesman.
“He had such a remarkable year this year,” Alonso said. “What he’s been able to accomplish has been incredible. He deserves every accolade he gets. He’s an awesome player. He’s a sparkplug. He’s our 'Squirrel.' He’s awesome. So it sucks, but I know he’s going to come back with a chip on his shoulder, stronger than ever, and he’s going to have a hell of a season next year, too.”