The latest from Flushing Meadows . . .
- Brandon Nimmo’s neck injury – initially described by the club as “stiff” and “inflamed” – is actually far graver, relays MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo. The 26-year-old is suffering from a bulging cervical disc that’s “pushing” on a nerve in his neck, and he’s also dealing with the aftermath of whiplash, presumably suffered during a collision with the center-field wall in an April 14 game vs. Atlanta. Nimmo is “relieved” to have been issued a firm diagnosis, though there’s currently no timetable for his return. It’s a been rough ’19 go for the Wyoming-born outfielder, who’s slumped to a .200/.344/.323 line over 161 plate appearances thus far. The former first-rounder has maintained his sky-high walk rates from the two seasons prior, though – his 16.1% mark currently ranks tenth among all MLB regulars – so the slow start could simply be a function of poor balls-in-play luck, or the vagaries of small-sample baseball at large.
- DiComo also provides an update on the concussed Michael Conforto, he of the staunch .271/.406/.521 line thus far, who appears set to return before Sunday’s game against Detroit. It’s a huge sigh of relief for an organization in desperate need of some left-handed thump, and one that seemed unlikely to transpire so soon. Perhaps the league’s most underrated hitter, Conforto has followed up a sizzling second half last season with a top-20 wRC+ in the first two months thus far. He’s upped his walk rate to a career-best 16.7% (good for 6th in MLB) and slashed his K rate over 3%, to a quite respectable (and below league-average) 21.7%. The 26-year-old has had periodic issue with staying healthy, but a full season on the field at this pace should place the former first-rounder right in line with the league’s elite.
- Infielder Jed Lowrie is still “a ways away,” per manager Mickey Callaway (h/t to the New York Post’s Mike Puma). The 35-year-old, who signed a 2-year, $20MM pact with New York in the offseason, has long been beset by injuries of various type throughout his 12-year big-league career. Ailments cut short each of his 2009, ’10, ’11, ’12, ’15, and ’16 seasons, and there appears to be no concrete timetable for his return in ’19. Lowrie’s on the heels of back-to-back excellent seasons with Oakland, though the aging curve is especially cruel for second basemen, and doubly so when they’ve accumulated a host of lower-body maladies over the the course of a career.