Mets optimistic Stroman can start Monday

June 23rd, 2021

NEW YORK -- The Mets’ ailing pitching staff received some rare positive news on Wednesday, when an MRI taken on Marcus Stroman’s left hip revealed no significant issues. The Mets have not committed to having Stroman make his next start, which would be Monday in Washington. But they are optimistic he will be able to do so.

Asked about his hip on Wednesday afternoon, Stroman replied, “Working on it,” before walking off the field.

“He feels optimistic right now,” manager Luis Rojas said, “but we still want to take this day-to-day. He’s a little sore today. It’s peace of mind to know that there’s nothing going on there after the MRI, but I think this is something we’re going to go day-by-day with. We’re going to get it checked, get it treated and go from there.”

Stroman exited Tuesday’s start against the Braves in the second inning due to left hip soreness, forcing the Mets to cobble together eight innings from their bullpen in a 3-0 loss. Following a lengthy debate on the mound, the Mets decided to remove Stroman despite his wishes to stay in the game.

If Stroman can make his next start, it would be of significant help to a Mets team currently in a stretch of three doubleheaders in seven days. The Mets called up No. 21-ranked prospect Tylor Megill to start Wednesday’s series finale against the Braves, as well as right-hander Corey Oswalt to provide relief innings if necessary. The team also asked starting pitcher Nick Tropeano to come to New York in the event that even more pitching is needed, according to a source, but he was not immediately activated.

In addition to all that, the Mets are actively canvassing the market for starting pitching, while acknowledging that any short-term additions may not be high-profile names. They recently lost their fifth starter, Joey Lucchesi, to season-ending Tommy John surgery.

All the roster chaos only increases the importance of Stroman, 30, who owns a 2.32 ERA and 75 strikeouts over 85 1/3 innings.

“This guy, he’s a warrior,” Rojas said. “He’s got a big heart. He thinks he can do everything, even when he’s limited. But I think right now, the smart thing is to get treated today and get some soreness out of there.”

Scooter back

His return may have been delayed a night due to COVID-19 protocols at Triple-A Syracuse, but Michael Conforto made it back onto the active roster Wednesday following a nearly six-week absence due to a strained right hamstring. The Mets had planned on activating Conforto on Tuesday, before a positive player test at Syracuse forced the club to isolate Conforto out of an abundance of caution. Since that time, he has undergone three separate COVID tests, all of which came back negative.

The Mets immediately inserted Conforto back into the three-hole of their lineup, with hopes that he can spark an offense averaging 1.6 runs per game over its past eight contests. Although Conforto admitted he was disappointed with his performance prior to landing on the IL, which included a .230 average and just two home runs in 33 games, he is confident he will be able to produce better numbers soon.

“The only productive way to go is forward,” Conforto said. “To linger on the injury doesn’t help me, so I’m just going to keep moving forward, stick the mentality of helping the team win, and at the end of the year, we’ll see where we’re at. But I’ll be happy if we’re playing in October and making a deep push, and hopefully winning the World Series.”

From the trainer’s room

The Mets placed catcher Tomás Nido on the 10-day IL, two days after he took a Shane Greene sinker off his right wrist. They had previously recalled Patrick Mazeika to cover them at catcher, so they used Nido’s roster spot to recall another pitcher instead.

Nido is suffering only from a bruise, but the Mets could ill afford to have him unavailable for several days. They are already playing without Jonathan Villar, who avoided the IL but missed a second straight game due to right calf tightness.

All told, the Mets made eight transactions prior to Wednesday’s game: They activated Megill, Oswalt and Conforto, placed Nido on the IL, optioned relievers Yennsy Díaz and Sean Reid-Foley to Syracuse, and transferred Joey Lucchesi and Robert Gsellman to the 60-day IL.

Pride Night

The Mets will host their fifth Pride Night at Citi Field during Friday's doubleheader against the Phillies. Events will include a pregame ceremony with a flag presentation from members of the LGBT Network, as well as in-game programming focused on celebrating the LGBTQ+ community.