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New York Mets outfielder Starling Marte is improving "little by little" as he works his way back from a broken right middle finger, manager Buck Showalter said Tuesday, according to, but would not commit to carrying Marte on the roster for the Wild Card Series, which begins Friday.

Marte suffered the injury when he was hit by a pitch on Sept. 6. He swung a bat and hit off a tee for the first time Monday, though it did not go well. Marte has been unable to grip a bat -- or grip a baseball to throw -- without discomfort yet.

Prior to the injury Marte owned a .292/.347/.468 batting line with 16 home runs and 18 stolen bases in 118 games, and was the team's primary No. 2 hitter. Jeff McNeil and Tyler Naquin have shared right field duty during Marte's absence, and while McNeil has hit very well in recent weeks, he would be in the lineup anyway, playing second base instead of right field.

Despite spending 175 days in first place, the Mets were swept by the Braves this past weekend, and are 1 1/2 games back in the NL East. Atlanta will clinch their fifth consecutive division title with their next win or the next Mets loss. The NLDS begins Oct. 11 and perhaps Marte could return then, though it seems unlikely he'll be ready for the Wild Card Series this Friday.

At 98-61, the Mets have a chance at the fourth 100-win season in franchise history (1969, 1986, 1988). They have already clinched a postseason spot and, at worst, will host the Wild Card Series as the No. 4 seed.