The Mets announced on Thursday that both second baseman Neil Walker and pitcher Matt Harvey will be out of action for several weeks with injuries. The Mets also gave bad news on Noah Syndergaard's possible return.
Walker has a partially torn hamstring, an injury that he suffered running to first base on Wednesday. Harvey is said to have a stress injury to his scapula (a bone in the shoulder) after undergoing an MRI and CT scan.
Walker, 31, is hitting .270/.352/.468 with 13 doubles, nine homers and 33 RBI this season, so this obviously hurts both on the depth and performance front. The Mets have been playing Jose Reyes at short and Wilmer Flores at third, leaving T.J. Rivera the likely everyday fill-in for Walker at second.
The bigger news here, though, will be Harvey's shoulder injury. He came back from Tommy John surgery to have a very good year in 2015, but controversy swirled over his workload late in the season. He pitched well in the postseason, too, but hasn't been the same -- nor has he been able to avoid injury -- since. Through 13 starts this year, he has a 5.25 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. In his best years, he struck out more than a hitter per inning. This season that rate is down to 6.9 K/9.
Thanks to the recent return of Steven Matz from injury, the Mets can round out their rotation with Matz, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo. Still, without the good version of Harvey and with Syndergaard still well over a month from a possible return (we'll get to that), this isn't nearly as formidable a rotation as many thought the Mets would have once the 2015 season ended.
Speaking of Syndergaard, in early May the Mets said he was expected to miss at least six weeks. Let's put the emphasis on "at least" now, because in speaking with reporters, general manager Sandy Alderson said this:
Alderson says Syndergaard won't throw for at least another 4 weeks.— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) June 15, 2017
If he can't even throw a ball for four weeks, that means another several weeks of building up arm strength. We're talking into August at the earliest that we see Syndergaard back on a hill in the bigs.
On the bright side, the Mets have been playing much better of late, having won five of their last six games. They start a four-game series at home with the first-place Nationals on Thursday, too.