The Mets are placing right-hander Jeurys Familia on the 10-day injured list due to a shoulder injury, the team announced to reporters today (Twitter links via Anthony Rieber of Newsday and Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News). Familia has already received an injection in his ailing shoulder. In his place on the active roster, the Mets will select the contract of left-handed reliever Ryan O’Rourke. New York has an open 40-man spot, so an additional corresponding move will not be necessary.
Per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo (Twitter link), Familia alerted the Mets to the discomfort in his shoulder this morning. He subsequently underwent an MRI that revealed a Bennett lesion/bone spur.
There’s no clear timetable on his return to the club at present, though the ailment helps to explain the rough start to the season for the 29-year-old. In 14 1/3 innings, Familia has been tagged for 11 runs (10 earned) on 16 hits and a sky-high 13 walks against 15 strikeouts. His current 95.5 mph average fastball is a career-low and down 0.7 mph from last season, and the extreme difficulty throwing strikes is out of character for the righty as well; over the past half decade prior to 2019, Familia had averaged 3.4 walks per nine innings pitched.
Familia signed the second-largest contract of any reliever this offseason at three years and a total of $30MM, but he’s clearly not off to the start he’d envisioned. With him on the shelf for a yet-undetermined period of time, it stands to reason that Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman will be tasked with serving as the primary right-handed setup men to closer Edwin Diaz. Gsellman leads Mets relievers with 18 2/3 innings pitched, though the Mets’ rigid use of their relievers could shoehorn him into a more limited eighth-inning role.
The 31-year-old O’Rourke will be returning to the Majors for the first time since the 2016 season. The southpaw saw 47 innings worth of action with the Twins in 2015-16, but Tommy John surgery wiped out his 2017 season and much of his 2018 campaign. O’Rourke spent last year in the Orioles organization but was only able to toss 14 1/3 innings of rehab work in the minors by season’s end. He landed with the Mets on a minor league deal early in the offseason.
So far in Syracuse, O’Rourke has pitched to a 4.61 ERA with a 14-to-6 K/BB ratio in 13 2/3 innings of work. Lefties are just 3-for-16 with a pair of walks and nine strikeouts in 18 plate appearances against him (.188/.278/.188), and that type of performance against same-handed opponents is rather characteristic of the 6’3″, 230-pound O’Rourke. In his two seasons with Minnesota, he dominated left-handed batters, limiting them to an embarrassing .134/.244/.239 slash in 80 plate appearances. Right-handed hitters, however, fared much better against O’Rourke, hitting him at a .250/.350/.390 clip.