NEW YORK — Although J.D. Davis received multiple negative X-rays after he was struck on the left hand with a Chase Anderson pitch on Tuesday, Davis could not avoid the injured list. The Mets placed him there Saturday, recalling infielder José Peraza to replace him.
In a corresponding move to clear 40-man roster space, the Mets designated pitching prospect Franklyn Kilome for assignment.
Davis came to Citi Field on the Mets’ off-day on Friday to receive treatment and test his bruised left hand. Upon evaluating him Saturday morning, medical officials determined that the proper course of action was to place him on the IL. The move is retroactive to April 7, meaning Davis will be eligible to return next Saturday in Colorado.
“He was a little better,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said of Davis on Saturday morning. “Still sore.”
The Mets’ starting third baseman entering the season, Davis is 1-for-3 with a walk in five plate appearances. In his absence, Luis Guillorme and Jonathan Villar will split reps at third, with Peraza serving as depth.
If Kilome goes unclaimed on waivers, the Mets can outright him to the Minors.
General manager Zack Scott on Saturday left open the possibility that the Mets could still negotiate a contract extension with Michael Conforto during the season, though team officials have painted that scenario as somewhat unlikely. Unlike Francisco Lindor, who recently signed a 10-year, $341 million extension, Conforto never set a hard Opening Day deadline to negotiate.
“I know he was very public about that,” Scott said. “Every player, typically in my history, prefers to finish it up before the season gets going so they can really focus on what’s important to them, which is trying to win games. So I don’t have a sense that that door is fully closed, necessarily. But it’s something that we’ll continue to explore and see if there’s something that makes sense for both sides.”
Noah Syndergaard was scheduled to throw a live bullpen session in Port St. Lucie, Fla. on Saturday, according to Scott, who added that the rehabbing right-hander is “progressing well.”
The Mets expect Syndergaard back around mid-June, but the exact date will depend upon how he progresses over the next two months.
“It was very positive watching him throw his [bullpen sessions] in Port St. Lucie,” Scott said. “His stuff’s looked good when I’ve seen it, for sure. There’s nothing throwing him off that June timetable.”
A source confirmed a report in The Athletic that Mets officials blocked Jed Lowrie from undergoing knee surgery last summer, when Lowrie requested the procedure, but a team spokesman offered no comment on the situation. Lowrie took just eight plate appearances in two years from the Mets due in large part to knee trouble after signing a $20 million contract.
After leaving the organization, Lowrie underwent surgery and signed with the A’s. He’s already appeared in nine games for them, entering Saturday’s play with a .276 average and one home run.
Like most baseball fans, Conforto noticed when Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. suffered a left shoulder subluxation that sent him to the IL earlier this week.
Conforto understands the injury as well as anyone, having suffered a similar one in the midst of his All-Star season in 2017. Unlike Tatis, Conforto required surgery, which cost him the final month-plus of that season and the first few games of the following campaign. Even after returning, Conforto scuffled until late in the year. He has since worked tirelessly on strengthening his shoulder to prevent similar injuries — like the one Tatis just suffered — in the future.
“That was tough to see, especially with such a great young player,” Conforto said. “It was the same shoulder but it was his lead arm. Mine was my top hand, which is a little bit more rare. Those things tend to happen on your follow-through with your bottom hand. … It gives you the flashbacks to those tough days, realizing you’ve got to get surgery and miss time and all that. So that was tough to see. Hopefully he’s doing all right, and hopefully we see him back out on the field really soon.”
Getting their jabs
Following Thursday’s home opener at Citi Field, many Mets players and staff members received their first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. The timing was planned to give players more than 48 hours to recover in advance of their next game on Saturday.
However, the Mets were unable to meet the 85 percent threshold Major League Baseball has required to loosen certain ballpark restrictions. Team officials are optimistic they can edge closer to that number after educating players on vaccination benefits earlier this week.
“I’ll put it to you this way: I’m in a vaccine commercial,” first baseman Pete Alonso said, referring to a recent MLB public service announcement. “There are a lot of guys that want to take it, and I think that there’s a lot of staff and personnel and people that are Tier 1 — it’s not just players — that are for taking it.”
Clubs were informed just before Opening Day that MLB and the MLBPA have agreed to relax certain health and safety protocols contained in the 2021 Operations Manual for fully vaccinated Tier 1 Individuals and for clubs that have 85% of their Tier 1 Individuals fully vaccinated. As part of that memo, players and staff were again strongly encouraged to receive one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines when eligible.
“We’re not there yet, but we got a lot of participation,” Scott said. “We didn’t expect to get there on Day 1 of trying to do this. We’re on our way toward that goal. That’s not so much the focus. The focus is the health and safety of our players and the people around them.”