Sitting at his locker in the clubhouse on Saturday, Mets’ right fielder Starling Marte provided some clarity on the fracture in his right middle finger. The fracture has kept him from playing since Sept. 6, the day the injury occurred when he was hit on the hand by a pitch.
Asked if he’s made any tangible progress, Marte said an attempt was made, but everyone agreed it wasn’t a good idea to keep going.
“I tried throwing, I tried hitting, the day before yesterday,” Marte said through team interpreter Alan Suriel. “But it was still bothering me a good amount, so we stopped.”
Marte has been instrumental to the team’s success this season. His 2.9 Wins Above Replacement, per FanGraphs, make Marte the eighth-most valuable outfielder in the National League this season. For the Mets to win the National League East, they’ll likely need Marte to be part of the final push. To have any hope of advancing in the playoffs, they’ll definitely need his bat, glove and speed in the lineup.
Fielding questions with a special healing device wrapped around the finger, Marte said he’s definitely not ready to rule himself out for the rest of the regular season.
“We’re going to see how things go,” he said. “But I think there’s a good possibility that I’ll be back.”
Though Jeff McNeil showed some sensational defensive chops in right field on Friday night (in what is essentially his third position), the Mets’ ideal lineup has Marte firmly planted out there. The unspoken acknowledgment of how important he is to the team hung over Marte’s entire pregame media scrum on Saturday, during which he assured reporters that he’s going to try some baseball activity again soon. The date for that is yet to be determined, though.
“I’m not sure yet,” Marte said of his next hitting and throwing session. “We’re going to wait until the pain subsides a little more and hope it doesn’t hurt as much next time we try.”
Marte was on the field before Saturday’s game running, stretching and doing some agility work.
“I’ve been keeping myself ready and making sure my legs are good to go,” he said. “Just working out.”
The 33-year-old is technically eligible to come off the 10-day injured list now, as his placement on it was backdated to Sept. 7, but it’s incredibly clear that the Mets will slow play this until they’re absolutely certain he’s at 100%.
“I’m cautious about it, we haven’t committed to anything,” Buck Showalter said on Saturday. “We know real confidently what we’re dealing with here and what the caution should be about going too fast. It’s kind of when, not if. But, your bones and his bones and my bones are all different. People heal at different rates.”
GIVENS TO IL
The COVID-19 bug has bit the Mets’ bullpen again. Trevor May came down with the virus on Sept. 3, and just after he made his full recovery, Mychal Givens now has it. The Mets play it very coy when talking about COVID-19, but Showalter gave about the biggest hint he could give.
“Mychal Givens was placed on the…uhhh…non-workplace-related medical issue list,” he said. “We’ll see.”
Stephen Nogosek, he of the 2.79 ERA in 19.1 innings this year, was reinstated from the injured list to replace Givens.
“I’m hoping that it’s not a long time,” Showalter said. “We’d like to get Mike back, he’s in a good place.”
MEGILL ON MONDAY
Tylor Megill is back. While he’s not yet on the active roster, he was at Citi Field on Saturday. Megill had a right shoulder strain that shut him down in mid-June, and he didn’t touch a game mound until Sept. 1, when he made the first of six rehab appearances in the minor leagues.
“I’m feeling good,” Megill smiled. “It’s good to finally be back out on a mound again, throwing. I got some good work in.”
Megill reported that he is done with rehab, and he is now just waiting for the roster move that will allow him to pitch in an MLB game again. Whenever that does happen, it will be as a reliever.
“I was just told to come down today and see what happens within the next couple days,” he said.
After the clubhouse closed and Showalter addressed the media, he said the plan is to activate Megill for Monday.
“We actually talked about activating him [on Saturday],” Showalter said. “But we’re not going to pitch him before, probably, Monday.”