The Mets Add Some Injury News to Their Losing

Over the past week, the Mets escaped significant injuries to Yoenis Cespedes and Jacob deGrom, two of their most important players, despite scary moments for each. They parted ways with the former star pitcher Matt Harvey. And they saw lethargic losses replace what had been a searingly hot start to the year, with their offense getting shut out thrice.

The new week just brought more setbacks, and a 3-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Sunday — the Mets’ sixth straight defeat. DeGrom was placed on the disabled list as a precautionary move, and Cespedes sustained a leg injury in the first inning.

“By no means are we pressing the panic button,” said the Mets starter Noah Syndergaard, one of several Mets who has not quite been themselves this season. “We’ve got a lot of baseball to play.”

Thus far, the Mets (17-15) have played like two starkly different teams. They started 11-1, winning in spite of some flaws. But lately, their pitching has been inconsistent and their offense worse. Losing nine of the past 11 games has dropped the Mets from first in the National League East to third. During this six-game homestand, they were outscored 34-11.

“To score runs — unless you’re hitting homers, and we’re not doing that — you have to string something together, whether it’s walks or hits, but you’ve got to keep it going,” Mets Manager Mickey Callaway said. “It seems like we get to a spot in our lineup and, all of a sudden, wherever it is, it just stops. It’s tough.”

Callaway had more than hitting to think about on Sunday. A day after clearing deGrom, who sustained a hyperextended elbow on Wednesday, to make his next start on Monday, the Mets placed him on the 10-day disabled list. Nothing had changed with deGrom’s health, the team assured, but the Mets are taking the better-safe-than-sorry route, so his next start was pushed to next Sunday.

A few hours after explaining that decision, the Mets watched Cespedes leave Sunday’s game after just one inning. Cespedes said after the game that he had discomfort in his quadriceps, a red flag given his injury history.

“This wasn’t like past seasons,” said Cespedes, who landed on the disabled list in 2016 with a right quadriceps strain and had some minor soreness there last season. “I took a little more precaution and I came out before it got worse.”

Cespedes, a left fielder, avoided missing time while dealing with a sore left hand earlier in the week, but on Saturday he felt something in his leg. He was not concerned about it before Sunday’s game, but then the discomfort returned after he had chased down a fly ball in foul territory in the top half of the first inning and singling and coming around to score on a sacrifice fly by Todd Frazier in the bottom half.

After the game, Cespedes said he was unsure if he could play on Monday in Cincinnati, a game in which deGrom was originally slated to start.

Before Sunday’s game, Callaway explained the change of direction. Tests showed that deGrom had sustained no damage to his throwing arm on Wednesday, so the Mets penciled him in for Monday, a decision they reaffirmed on Saturday after he threw a bullpen session.

But behind the scenes, Callaway said, team officials discussed a more cautious approach after Saturday’s game.

“We sat down and talked about the welfare of our team moving forward, not reacting to what’s been going on lately,” he said. “That would’ve been a mistake.”

So, after discussing it with deGrom on Sunday morning, they decided he would throw a long bullpen session on Tuesday and, if no issues arose, would come off the disabled list the first day he was eligible and would start Sunday. “The more and more we thought about it, it just wasn’t worth the risk,” Callaway said.

Said deGrom: “If I went out there and was fine, everything is good. But if something did happen, then you’re like, ‘Why didn’t he just take one?’”

Instead, the Mets will call up the left-hander P.J. Conlon, 24, to start Monday for his major league debut. Conlon, 24, had a 6.75 earned run average with Class AAA Las Vegas, but that is a difficult pitching environment and the Mets had limited options. Born in Belfast but raised in Southern California, Conlon will become the first player born in Ireland to appear in the major leagues since 1945, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

Pitching, though, was not the problem on Sunday. Syndergaard battled command issues, walking four batters, yet still tossed six innings and left the game with the score tied at 2-2.

Ian Desmond, the Rockies’ slumping first baseman, hit a go-ahead home run, his second of the game, against the Mets reliever Hansel Robles in the eighth inning. And the sputtering Mets, who managed just two hits after their two-run first inning, suffered another defeat.

“We held the team to three runs today,” Frazier said. “We’ve got to find a way to win that game.”

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