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Lefty Vargas has fracture in glove hand

Mets starter scheduled to undergo surgery Tuesday
Special to MLB.com

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Mets left-hander Jason Vargas will undergo surgery on a non-displaced fracture of his right (glove) hand, placing the start of his season in doubt.

Vargas, who was penciled in as the team's No. 3 starter, was struck on the right hand by a line drive during a Minor League game on Friday, fracturing the hamate bone, which is located on the lower pinky side of the hand.

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- Mets left-hander Jason Vargas will undergo surgery on a non-displaced fracture of his right (glove) hand, placing the start of his season in doubt.

Vargas, who was penciled in as the team's No. 3 starter, was struck on the right hand by a line drive during a Minor League game on Friday, fracturing the hamate bone, which is located on the lower pinky side of the hand.

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The Mets announced Sunday that Vargas, 35, was examined in New York and surgery was recommended. He will undergo surgery Tuesday to remove the broken right hamate bone, and will be able to resume his throwing program approximately five days after the procedure.

Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule | Gear

Left-hander Steven Matz and right-hander Zack Wheeler have been battling for the fifth-starter spot. Both pitchers are scheduled to throw on Monday. Matz will work against the Astros in West Palm Beach, Fla. Wheeler will pitch a one-inning simulated game. Additionally, Wheeler will start Thursday -- in Vargas' regular spot -- against the Nationals in Port St. Lucie.

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Vargas signed a two-year, $16 million contract on Feb. 18 after posting a career-best 18-11 record for the Royals last season. The Mets saw Vargas as quality depth for a starting rotation that was ravaged by injuries last season. He's got a 4.15 ERA in three appearances (two starts) this spring with four walks and nine strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings.

Callaway said he has seen a hamate bone fracture for hitters, but never for a pitcher.

"It's rare for a pitcher," Callaway said. "We'll see how he [Vargas] is. But we've got some other guys stretched out and we'll make an [overall] assessment in five days.''

d'Arnaud has big day
Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud had a memorable day in a 5-4 win against the Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs, including a solo home run and a two-run double. He threw out a would-be basestealer and also made a nifty spin-move play in front of the plate, when he pounced on a light chopper and threw to first for the out.

"It was a lot of fun watching Travis go 2-for-2 right off the bat and make an amazing play in the field," Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard said.

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Callaway said he thought d'Arnaud had a good chance to throw out two basestealers, but one throw "cut about 5 feet. Both of them were at 1.9 [seconds], which is a great pop time for anyone."

Callaway said he expects to use a catching platoon of d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki. Last season, d'Arnaud batted .244 with 16 homers and 57 RBIs.

"There's a lot of factors that will determine how we use them -- who we're playing, who's pitching," Callaway said. "The good thing is we can put either one of them back there and feel totally comfortable. When I look at those two guys, I feel like they can do different things offensively."

d'Arnaud said he worked diligently at staying focused during the offseason.

"My big thing is I'm not chasing as much as I was in the past," d'Arnaud said. "I'm trying to stay focused and put some good at-bats together."

Good work by Gsellman
The Mets led 5-1 when Syndergaard departed after the seventh inning, but Seth Lugo surrendered three runs in the eighth inning, including a two-run homer to Danny Valencia.

That left the ninth for right-hander Robert Gsellman. He surrendered a leadoff double to Austin Hays, who moved to third base with one out. But Gsellman stranded the tying run with two strikeouts for his first save of the spring.

"[Gsellman] got a man on third and upped it even more," Callaway said. "He walked off the field and said, 'I loved that. That got me going.'"

Cespedes returns
Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who hasn't played in a Grapefruit League game since March 11, said he'll be ready to go Monday against the Astros in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Cespedes has been out with discomfort in his right wrist. He received a cortisone shot and X-rays were negative. Rest has been the remaining prescription. In eight Grapefruit League games, Cespedes has three homers.

Up next
Matz will start Monday's game against the Astros at 1:05 p.m. ET. He'll be followed by right-handers Jeurys Familia, AJ Ramos, Paul Sewald and Anthony Swarzak and left-hander Jerry Blevins. Watch the game on MLB.TV.

Joey Johnston is a contributor to MLB.com.

New York Mets, Jason Vargas