The Mets are still bracing for the possibility that deGrom might need a disabled-list stint to rest his sore right lat, which is why they did not place him on paternity leave Tuesday -- despite burning their bullpen for 7 1/3 innings in Monday's 10-3 loss to the Marlins, then using four more relievers in Tuesday's 2-1 defeat.
Instead, the Mets optioned infielder Eric Campbell to Triple-A Las Vegas late Tuesday, replacing him with right-hander Rafael Montero. Logan Verrett will start as planned in place of deGrom on Wednesday, but the Mets now have Montero in the bullpen should they find themselves in need of innings.
The move only adds to the concern surrounding deGrom, who strained his right lat Friday against the Phillies. Placing deGrom on paternity leave would have allowed the Mets to roster both Montero and Campbell for one to three days, effectively giving them time to put their bullpen back in order without sacrificing a bench player. But doing so would have forfeited their ability to backdate a potential disabled-list stint for deGrom.
As things currently stand, the Mets could place deGrom on the DL retroactive to April 9, which would sideline him for just two starts. Despite everything, the Mets remain hopeful he will miss only one.
Montero, 25, once universally ranked higher than deGrom on top prospect lists, was a non-factor last season because of a lingering shoulder injury. He last pitched five effective innings for Triple-A Las Vegas on April 7, making him more stretched out than another option, Sean Gilmartin, who hasn't thrown more than an inning in a game since March 29.
Campbell, 29, appeared in three of the Mets' first seven games, went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. Should the Mets ultimately decide to place deGrom on the disabled list, they could immediately promote Campbell back to the Majors. Otherwise, he must stay in the Minors for at least 10 days.