Ahead of their series opener in Citi Field on Tuesday, the Mets have activated shortstop Francisco Lindor from the injured list. Lindor injured his oblique muscle on July 16 and has been on the shelf since then. Lindor, 27, is hitting .228/.326/.376 with 11 doubles, 11 homers, 36 RBI, 49 runs and eight steals this season.
He got off to a terribly slow start after the Mets traded for him in a blockbuster deal then signed him to a 10-year, $341 million extension this past offseason, but he's good enough to provide a huge spark down the stretch, should he get hot.
In the time since Lindor's injury, the Mets traded for fellow Puerto Rican All-Star shortstop Javier Bàez. Bàez just returned from an injury of his own on Sunday -- sparking the Mets' offense with two doubles, an RBI and two runs scored in a win over the Dodgers. Bàez has been seen on the field recently taking grounders at second base and he has past experience there. He's also publicly said he'd gladly move positions if it meant playing with his friend, Lindor.
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That means Tuesday will be the first time the duo gets to form the Mets' double-play combo.
Assuming the Mets play the Lindor-Báez duo nearly everyday, that frees up Jeff McNeil for outfield or bench duty.
Something else that happened with Lindor on the shelf was the Mets totally falling apart. They are 6-15 in August and their four-game lead in the NL East has become a 6 1/2-game deficit. They are finishing up a brutal stretch of 13 games against the two best teams in baseball in the Giants and Dodgers with a three-game series against San Francisco. The good news for the Mets is the next 14 games after the Giants series come against the Nationals and Marlins. If they can get on a run in that part of the schedule, perhaps they can climb back into contention.
If that's going to happen, a spark from Lindor and Bàez will likely be part of the equation.