The Mets have a few key pieces nursing injuries with two weeks to go until Opening Day, but Luis Rojas said all three are progressing as anticipated - or were, until a further injury update revealed an unrelated setback for Carlos Carrasco.
On Thursday morning, Carrasco, who was shut down with elbow soreness prior to making his spring debut, threw a 20-pitch simulated game on Thursday, and according to Rojas was showing encouraging signs of being on track for a return.
“He threw really well,” Rojas said. “Full steam, stuff-wise. We have the reads there in the dugout, so we’re looking at how the stuff was, and it was good stuff. It was a really good day for him.”
Carrasco has experienced similar elbow discomfort in past spring trainings, which contributed to the team’s optimism that he wouldn’t miss any extended time - so, despite having not thrown an inning of game action yet, Rojas believed Carrasco could still be ready for his first turn in the rotation once the regular season begins.
“We feel that way, and he feels that way,” Rojas said. “We could say that he can be stretched out to that point where he has the innings. We just have to see it in full. The next one is another key one, and the next one following up, just for the sake of progression.”
However, hours later, the Mets sent this update:
RHP Carlos Carrasco suffered a right hamstring strain today. It occurred during conditioning after throwing live batting practice. Carrasco will undergo a MRI and the training staff will assess next steps from there.
Carrasco was expected to throw between 35 and 45 pitches in either a bullpen session or simulated game sometime this weekend, but now has had another setback that puts his status for Opening Day from possible to highly questionable.
The Mets manager didn’t get to see the team’s other injured starter throw his bullpen on Thursday, but the report from Noah Syndergaard’s second bullpen session since undergoing Tommy John surgery was also an optimistic one.
“I heard he threw the ball really well,” Rojas said. “I heard he hit 96 mph, not at 100 percent. He’s basically still progressing and rehabbing.”
Syndergaard still has a ways to go before making his return, but his velocity is certainly a good sign as he continues to build up his arm and prepare to join the rotation midseason.
“He’s in a good place,” Rojas said. “He’s such a hard worker. He’s done a fine job to get to where he is today. Everything is going accordingly right now.”
Away from the mound, Dominic Smith took some swings on Wednesday after being scratched from the lineup with wrist soreness, but it doesn’t seem to be a concern for Rojas and the Mets, even though he will still be kept out of Friday’s lineup.
“We’ll reassess about the workload he’s going to do tomorrow,” Rojas said. “But we don’t want to push him into playing. We’d rather have him on a camp day, maybe take some swings, and then maybe look at a couple days to get him back in.”
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