The Mets will welcome Carlos Carrasco back from the 15-day injured list today, with the veteran righty being activated to start against the Nationals. Right-hander Adonis Medina was optioned to Triple-A to open up a spot for Carrasco on the active roster.
Carrasco hasn’t pitched since August 15 due to a left oblique strain, though fortunately for both the right-hander and the Mets, it was a lower-grade oblique issue. Rather than a season-threatening injury, Carrasco is now back after just shy of three weeks on the sidelines, and ready to help the Mets in their bid for the NL East title. Though the injury wasn’t overly serious, it did have some notable ramifications on Carrasco’s contract, as he now won’t be able to reach the 170 innings necessary to turn the Mets’ $14MM club option for 2023 into a guaranteed year.
However, it is also quite possible the Mets will end up exercising that option anyway, given how solid Carrasco has been this year. After his first season in New York was marred by injuries, Carrasco has rebounded to post a 3.92 ERA/3.60 SIERA over 126 1/3 innings in 2022. While his hard-contact numbers are middling and Carrasco has been hampered by a .330 BABIP, he has posted above-average strikeout and walk rates. As has often been the case throughout his career, Carrasco also still has one of the best chase rates of any pitcher in baseball.
The Mets have an 85-49 record despite playing virtually the entire season without their first-choice rotation, and that trend might be in danger of continuing just as Carrasco makes his return. Max Scherzer had to leave yesterday’s start after 67 pitches due to what the team described as left side fatigue.
Considering that Scherzer missed close to two months with a oblique strain of his own earlier this season, his removal “was a precautionary move,” the right-hander told MLB.com’s Joe Trezza and other reporters.
“There was nothing that happened. Nothing tightened up. Just had general fatigue overall on my left side,” Scherzer said. “That is where you can run into an injury, when you’re pitching through fatigue….I just couldn’t take any risks, especially where the calendar is at. There is no time left to re-ramp back up. I think that played just as important a factor in coming out after five [innings].”
Scherzer said he would be able to make his next start, while Mets manager Buck Showalter was a little less steadfast, instead saying “we’re hopeful [Scherzer] can make his next start.” New York doesn’t have a game on Thursday, so Scherzer will already get an extra day to rest and recover before he is slated to face the Marlins on September 9. Given the right-hander’s importance to the Mets’ playoff chances, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see that start pushed back or perhaps even scratched if Scherzer has any at all lingering effects from his side issue.