If the reigning National League champion Mets are going to maintain their spot atop the wild-card race, they might have to do it without infielder Wilmer Flores. The 25-year-old hasn’t seen action since Sept. 10 because of a right wrist injury he suffered in a collision with Braves catcher A.J. Pierzynski, and Flores isn’t sure if he’ll be able to return this season.
“I am worried,” Flores told Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. “But I’m very positive that I’ll feel good.”
Flores, who has a right bone bruise, has received a pair of cortisone shots over the past two weeks. One of the Mets’ team doctors recommended more rest for him Friday. With time running out this year, that could be problematic, notes DiComo. Still, Flores recently began taking aggressive swings in an indoor cage and hopes to progress to full batting practice next week.
If Flores is able to return, his presence would likely benefit a Mets offense that has scored the third-fewest runs in the NL this season. Flores has done his part, having batted .267/.319/.469 this year with 16 home runs in 335 plate appearances – including .281/.322/.496 in 149 second-half PAs. Most of the damage has come versus left-handed pitchers, against whom Flores has slashed .340/.383/.710 line in 107 trips to the plate.
The right-handed Flores’ prowess against southpaws could make him a platoon option at first base with the recently activated Lucas Duda, a lefty, or he could vie for playing time at second base with Kelly Johnson and T.J. Rivera. In addition to first and second, Flores has logged extensive time at third base this year, but the Mets are in fine shape there with midseason signing Jose Reyes, who has hit .263/.322/.451 and swatted eight homers in 245 PAs since returning from a domestic violence suspension.
Regardless of whether Flores comes back this season, he’ll be eligible for arbitration for the time during the upcoming winter. The 32 homers Flores has hit in 845 PAs since last season should set him up for a nice raise over his 2016 salary of $526,000-plus.