Mets infielder Brett Baty will undergo surgery tomorrow due to a torn UCL in his thumb, per Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. Baty is potentially done for the year, as the expected recovery time is five weeks, per Will Sammon of The Athletic. Sammon adds that outfielder Terrance Gore will also be joining the team. The Mets announced that Baty has been placed on the 10-day IL retroactive to August 29.
It’s an unfortunate blow to the Mets and for Baty, personally. The 22-year-old prospect was promoted to the big leagues just under two weeks ago. He has struggled in his first 42 plate appearances, slashing just .184/.244/.342 so far. However, it’s fairly standard for young players to take some time finding their footing in their first taste of major league action. Based on his 315/.410/.533 batting line in the minors this year, it would have been reasonable to expect him finding better results as he got more exposure to big league pitching.
However, that progression will now have to wait, as Baty will apparently be out of action for the next five weeks. Since there are five weeks remaining on the regular season schedule, it will be very difficult for him to return to action and contribute down the stretch. A lengthy postseason run would surely help his chances of coming back, but even in that scenario, the club would have to view him as a better option than the more established players available for those opportunities.
For the Mets, this will leave them shorthanded on the infield, as least temporarily. Luis Guillorme is on the injured list due to a groin injury, leaving them with Pete Alonso at first, Jeff McNeil at second, Eduardo Escobar at third and Francisco Lindor at shortstop. For the moment, the club doesn’t really have a player on their bench who can reasonably play the non-first-base infield positions. Earlier this year, outfielder Mark Canha played third base for the Mets in an emergency situation, something he hadn’t done since he 2016 with the A’s. It’s possible he may be in that position again, though perhaps not for long. Rosters expand from 26 to 28 tomorrow, which should allow the Mets to bring in reinforcements. Also, Guillorme doesn’t seem to be too far away from coming back. Tim Healey of Newsday relays word from manager Buck Showalter that Guillorme will begin a rehab assignment this weekend.
As for Gore, 31, he’s never been much of a hitter but has always found work due to his speed and defense. In 102 MLB games, he’s hit just .224/.325/.284 but has 40 stolen bases in that time. The Mets signed him to a minor league deal in June, with Gore hitting .241/.313/241 in Triple-A since then. The Mets should have plenty of options for the outfield grass, with Brandon Nimmo, Starling Marte, Tyler Naquin present alongside Canha, though Gore could jump up the depth chart if Canha is needed on the dirt. Otherwise, he should be available off the bench for pinch running and defensive replacement assignments.