NEW YORK -- The Mets had hoped that Rafael Montero's promotion to the big leagues would make their rotation complete.
Instead, it coincided with injury. The team placed right-handed Dillon Gee on the disabled list Wednesday with a strained right lat muscle, announcing that rookie Jacob deGrom will take his rotation spot. The move cleared up roster space for the Mets to activate Montero, with Bobby Parnell shifting from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list.
The team hopes Gee, whose DL stint is dated retroactively to May 10, will miss only two starts.
"We're all pretty disappointed today," manager Terry Collins said.
Insisting that he felt no discomfort during his last start against the Phillies, in which Collins pulled him after only 81 pitches, Gee said he began experiencing "soreness that I've never had before" after the outing. He pushed back his bullpen session one day and felt "great" upon finally throwing. But shortly thereafter the soreness returned, growing worse overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday morning.
"It just didn't go away," Gee said. "I've pitched through discomfort before, and this was just something I didn't feel comfortable pitching through."
As a result, the Mets decided to err on the side of caution with Gee, who is 3-1 with a 2.73 ERA and has been one of the best pitchers in the big leagues over the last calendar year. The Mets recalled deGrom earlier this week with plans to use him out of the bullpen, though they knew there was a chance Gee would be unable to make his start. deGrom will start Thursday against the Yankees and again May 21 against the Dodgers. Gee will be eligible to return May 26 against the Pirates, and the Mets fully expect him to make that start.
An MRI Wednesday revealed nothing more than the lat strain, and Gee will attempt to throw again early next week. In his words, he is suffering from a "more radiating type pain" than anything acute.
Still, despite his hope for a speedy recovery, Gee could not help but feel disappointed. Plagued by injuries throughout his career, Gee pitched 199 innings last season and made it his goal to surpass 200 for the first time this season. That is still possible, though missing two starts makes it more difficult.
The injury also robs the Mets of their most consistent pitcher. Since escaping a demotion to the bullpen last May 30 with a brilliant start in the Subway Series, Gee has gone 13-6 with a 2.72 ERA, the latter mark ranking ninth in baseball over that span. Gee often looks back to last season's Subway Series as a rebirth of sorts.
This Subway Series has not been as rosy.
"Last year at this time, it was a great moment," Gee said. "This year at this time, it's not so great. But I think we're really optimistic. I know I'm optimistic about coming off the DL in time when I'm supposed to, and hopefully it won't be an issue going forward."
Mets outright veteran reliever Farnsworth
NEW YORK -- The Mets on Wednesday outrighted veteran reliever Kyle Farnsworth, who was the team's closer as recently as Monday -- and who was caught off-guard by the move.
"I am very bitter right now," Farnsworth said.
The move saves the Mets money, because Farnsworth had signed a 45-day consent waiver that guaranteed him cash if he was still on the team this weekend. It also gives the Mets a bit of roster flexibility with catcher Travis d'Arnaud's status uncertain. If the Mets feel d'Arnaud needs only a day or two to recover from his concussion symptoms, they can use the open roster spot to activate Juan Centeno as catching insurance, thereby avoiding putting d'Arnaud on the disabled list.
If d'Arnaud's injury does require a DL stint, the Mets can activate both Centeno and lefty reliever Josh Edgin.
Farnsworth, 37, was 0-3 with a 3.18 ERA in 19 games, serving as closer for the last three and a half weeks. Due in part to a lack of velocity, Farnsworth did not make the team out of Spring Training, but received the call after the Mets lost Bobby Parnell due to injury on Opening Day. Once in the big leagues, Farnsworth's velocity rapidly increased into the mid-90s.
Yet despite his low ERA, Farnsworth lost as many games (three) as he successfully saved. His Fielding Independent Pitching mark was 4.51, suggesting a fair bit of luck.
With Farnsworth out of the mix, the Mets will continue to rely on a closer by committee until one candidate emerges. After Farnsworth narrowly escaped a blown save Monday against the Yankees, manager Terry Collins mentioned Jeurys Familia, Jose Valverde and Daisuke Matsuzaka as potential closer candidates. Collins also said that Jenrry Mejia could eventually enter that mix down the road.
Edgin, who has appeared in 68 games for the Mets over the past two seasons, had a 4.97 ERA at Triple-A Las Vegas, but a 2.16 mark -- with eight strikeouts and eight walks -- over his last 10 appearances.
Farnsworth can technically report to Las Vegas if he desires. That seems unlikely. Asked about his plans, he said: "Hopefully I'll find a team where I can play against this one."
Mets' d'Arnaud undergoes concussion tests
NEW YORK -- Catcher Travis d'Arnaud underwent a series of concussion tests Wednesday, one day after Alfonso Soriano struck him in the helmet with a backswing. He will undergo further testing on Thursday, with a disabled list stint possible.
"I'm a little concerned about him, but we'll get him re-tested [Thursday]," manager Terry Collins said.
"He's had some symptoms, so the concern is that maybe it's concussion-related," general manager Sandy Alderson said. "We'll run the tests and see where he's at."
d'Arnaud began feeling dizziness after Tuesday's game, prompting the Mets to proceed with their standard head-injury protocol. Though Collins said the team was being "pretty cautious" and that backup Anthony Recker was scheduled to start behind the plate Wednesday anyway, the Mets were concerned enough to call up Triple-A Las Vegas catcher Juan Centeno on the taxi squad.
If the Mets decide to place d'Arnaud on the seven-day head-injury disabled list Thursday, they will activate Centeno as a backup. If not, they will simply recall reliever Josh Edgin from Las Vegas. The Mets have one open roster spot after outrighting relief pitcher Kyle Farnsworth late Wednesday night.
d'Arnaud is batting .196 with three home runs, appearing in 31 of the Mets' first 39 games.
Collins plays hot hand with Tejada at short
NEW YORK -- In the immediate aftermath of Tuesday's game against the Yankees, Mets manager Terry Collins said he planned to start Wilmer Flores at shortstop Wednesday.
That idea lasted all of half a day. By Wednesday afternoon, after meeting with his coaching staff, Collins decided that Ruben Tejada is simply "too hot to take out" of the lineup.
"You've got to ride that wave," Collins said. "This guy is really swinging the bat good. This kid has really put his mind to producing."
That means that Tejada has essentially won his job back with a three-game hot streak, despite the fact that the Mets initially wanted to give Flores an uninterrupted run of starts at the position. Tejada started at shortstop Sunday when Flores came down with an illness, hit a walk-off single later that day, and has not looked back since. In two games at Yankee Stadium, Tejada was 2-for-8.
The same logic has applied to the outfield, where Collins continues to play Eric Young Jr. despite his recent proclamation that Juan Lagares is the starting center fielder. Lagares sat for the second time in three games Wednesday while Young, who scored three runs Tuesday despite an 0-for-3 night, played left.
"You look at the balls he's hit lately, he's hit them hard," Collins said, noting that Young recently made an adjustment to his batting stance. "He's straightened up a little bit more at the plate, with a little bit more aggressive swing. He's done a good job. He's getting on, he's doing the things we want him to do, so he's back in there."