LOS ANGELES -- With the Mets in need of a vacant roster spot, a mild muscle pull was all it took to sideline Wilmer Flores for two weeks. The Mets on Thursday placed Flores on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain, after the infielder injured his leg Monday at Dodger Stadium.
To replace starting pitcher Steven Matz, who will miss his next turn in the rotation Saturday in Denver, the Mets recalled Sean Gilmartin from Triple-A Las Vegas in a corresponding move.
"It's definitely frustrating," Flores said after Wednesday's game. "But what are you going to do?"
Flores, who flew back to New York City early Thursday morning, underwent an MRI that revealed the strain. He could not pinpoint exactly how he injured the muscle, but said it was unrelated to the stolen base attempt that left him bruised and bloodied when his helmet flew off and ricocheted into his forehead. Flores stayed in that game until the end, then played eight more innings Tuesday, going 1-for-3.
Mets assistant general manager John Ricco indicated that Flores initially hurt his leg during pregame infield practice, classifying Flores' injury as "a very mild strain … about as mild as you can have."
"But it was bothering him enough that we decided to DL him," Ricco said, acknowledging that Flores will not be away from baseball activities for long.
Coming into the season, Flores was slated to receive significant playing time as the Mets' primary backup at all four infield positions. But a lack of left-handed opposing pitchers cut into his playing time in April, and Flores struggled when he did appear in games. Recently, Flores had begun playing more frequently, but only enough to lift his season slash line to .180/.255/.280 with one home run. Manager Terry Collins believes a Minor League rehab assignment may help Flores sharpen his swing.
"Anytime you put somebody on the disabled list, it's not good news," Collins said. "But the fact that it's not a real serious thing, that he will probably be able to start playing here in a few days, that's good news. And he needs to go get some playing time, get his swing back so that when he comes back, he's ready to play."
Flores' assignment to the DL capped a difficult news cycle for the Mets, who announced before Wednesday's game that Matz would miss his next scheduled start. Doctors will examine Matz in New York as well, but not until next week.
After Wednesday's game, Collins also acknowledged that pitcher Noah Syndergaard recently underwent an examination of his right elbow. But tests came back clean, and Syndergaard responded with one of his best starts of the season against the Dodgers on Wednesday.
Gilmartin has gone 4-1 with a 2.48 ERA at Las Vegas since narrowly missing a spot on the Mets' Opening Day roster. He will return to bullpen work with the Mets, with Logan Verrett slated to start in Matz's place.
"Obviously I wanted to be here," Gilmartin said of his time in Triple-A. "But once the decision was made to option me, I put everything I had into helping Las Vegas win games. I didn't let what was going on here affect or dictate what I was doing down there."