The New York Mets continue to be battered by injuries, as the club on Monday placed outfielder Michael Conforto and second baseman Jeff McNeil on the 10-day injured list with hamstring strains, the team announced. On Sunday, Conforto exited the Mets' eventual loss to the Rays with discomfort in his right hamstring. For McNeil, the injury is in his left hamstring.
While Conforto and McNeil are typically productive lineup regulars, they've both struggled so far in 2021. That said, losing them to injuries that are often slow to heal is a concern for the Mets. That's especially the case given the other injury concerns up and down the roster. Conforto and McNeil will join Brandon Nimmo (bruised finger), J.D. Davis (sprained finger), Albert Almora Jr. (shoulder contusion), Luis Guillorme (oblique strain), and Jose Martinez (still recovering from offseason knee surgery) on the IL. This is to say nothing of injured or recovering pitchers Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, Noah Syndergaard, Seth Lugo, and Dellin Betances.
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It's not all bad news, however. The Mets announced Monday that Syndergaard and Lugo will begin minor-league rehab assignments later this week with the team's High Class-A affiliate. Lugo had surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow in spring training. He'll pitch Tuesday. Syndergaard had Tommy John surgery last spring and will pitch Wednesday.
Lugo is arguably the team's best reliever and would be a significant addition to a bullpen that had been one of the best in baseball prior to stumbling a bit this past weekend. Syndergaard, an impending free agent, would bolster a rotation that has been getting by with an opener and/or Joey Lucchesi every fifth day. Tommy John surgery rehab typically includes 5-6 minor league rehab starts, oftentimes more.
All the injuries mean the Mets are scrambling not only to cobble together a rotation but also to field a lineup. Those injuries also come just in advance of a key road series against the Atlanta Braves. The Mets enter that series with a record of 18-16 and a half-game lead over the Phillies in the NL East.