Mets center fielder Juan Lagares has been diagnosed with a partially torn ligament in his left thumb, tweets ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin. However, for now, he will rejoin the team and will not be placed on the disabled list. The Mets will take two to three days to determine whether Lagares can play through the injury, tweets Newsday’s Marc Carig, but surgery is a possibility for the 27-year-old. However, the hope appears to be that he can delay the operation until the offseason.
Lagares is hitting .276/.315/.402 on the season, though his playing time was diminished somewhat by the club’s re-signing of Yoenis Cespedes. Lagares had been expected to platoon with Alejandro De Aza in center field but has received just 93 plate appearances on the season thus far. He’s earning $2.5MM as part of a four-year, $23MM contract that he signed prior to the 2015 campaign based largely on the strength of his excellent defense. Because of the presence of De Aza on the roster, the Mets would have four true outfielders on the roster even if Lagares were to require surgery during the season, though none of De Aza, Cespedes, Michael Conforto or Curtis Granderson carries Lagares’ defensive chops in center field.