Starling Marte attempted to start some baseball activities a few days ago, but the outfielder told reporters (including MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo) that the hitting and throwing drills were stopped since Marte’s fractured right middle finger “was still bothering me a good amount.” Since Marte’s injured-list placement was retroactive to September 7, he won’t be activated after just the minimum 10 days, and it isn’t yet certain when or even if Marte could be back before the end of the regular season.
For his part, Marte feels he will be able to play again, though manager Buck Showalter was more circumspect about the possibility. Naturally, getting Marte back onto the field as soon as possible would be ideal for all parties, especially if he can get some swings under his belt to ensure that his finger is fully healed heading into the playoffs. But, with a postseason trip all but officially assured, the team isn’t going to rush Marte back, since a re-aggravation of the injury could threaten his availability for October.
The Mets are trying to hold off the Braves for first place in the NL East, and the division crown carries even more importance given the new playoff format. While a late surge from the NL Central-leading Cardinals can’t be ruled out, the NL East winner is likely to finish with the second-best record in the National League, and will thus earn a first-round bye. That bye is valuable for countless reasons, including the fact that getting over a full week off would allow a team more time to get its players (like Marte) rested and recovered from injuries. Of course, not having Marte available will make it all the more difficult for New York to stay ahead of Atlanta down the stretch.
While Marte’s status is still a question mark, the Mets are at least getting some reinforcements back on the pitching side. Max Scherzer is tentatively scheduled to be activated from the 15-day IL in time to start Monday’s game against the Brewers, and Tylor Megill is also slated to be activated from the 60-day IL when the series begins in Milwaukee.
Megill suffered a shoulder strain in mid-June, and after starting all 27 games of his brief MLB career, the righty is being targeted for a bullpen role upon his return. Between his shoulder injury and another long-month IL stint due to biceps inflammation, Megill has barely pitched in 2022, with just 41 1/3 innings over his nine appearances. While his SIERA is an impressive 3.28 and his strikeout and walk rates are both above-average, Megill’s real-world numbers include a 5.01 ERA.
The Mets also welcomed righty reliever Stephen Nogosek back from the 15-day IL today, and played Mychal Givens on the injured list in the corresponding move. There was no stated reason for Givens’ placement, indicating that the right-hander has been placed on the COVID-related version of the IL. It isn’t known if Givens has tested positive for COVID-19, or is just suffering from symptoms.
Nogosek has missed the last four weeks due to an oblique strain. Now in his third MLB season, Nogosek has a career-high 19 1/3 innings, and a solid 2.79 ERA. New York has shuttled Nogosek up and down from Triple-A on multiple occasions this year, but with the Triple-A season almost over, Nogosek figures to stick in the majors and provide more depth in the Mets’ bullpen.