Opening day is in jeopardy for Brandon Nimmo.
The Mets avoided the worst with the center back, who left a Grapefruit League game with an ankle injury on Friday night. Imaging shown taken on Saturday morning showed a low grade sprain in his right knee and ankle and it is believed to be week in and week out.
General manager Billy Eppler said the club were relieved to see no structural damage to Nimmo’s ankle or knee. A weekly schedule doesn’t look promising and that means he probably won’t be ready to start the season, but Eppler seemed to have some optimism with just under two weeks left in spring training.
Nimmo was injured sliding at second base Friday night against the Miami Marlins at Clover Park. He appeared to awkwardly get his knee stuck and manager Buck Showalter said Nimmo caught a spike in his ankle but overall felt fine.
Without Nimmo, the Mets have a hole to fill defensively in center field and at the top of the standings. His on-base ability and speed along with his ability to hit with some left side power made him a valuable head hitter. The Mets’ outfield depth is somewhat thin with Tommy Pham and Tim Locastro, but Locastro brings speed, so Nimmo’s injury could open up a spot for him in the Major League squad.
Locastro had a good spring and went 1-for-3 with a home run against former Mets right-hander Rafael Montero on Saturday in the team’s 2-0 Grapefruit League win over the Houston Astros.
The Mets assigned two more outfielders to minor league camp on Saturday, sending Jaylin Davis and Abraham Almonte to the other side of the complex.
After the game, they reassigned right-hander William Woods, receiver Hayden Senger and outfielder Lorenzo Cedrola.
In other injury news, southpaw Jose Quintana underwent a bone graft on Friday and the procedure went well. It’s been a tough week for the Mets with the club losing Quintana, right-handers Bryce Montes de Oca and Sam Coonrod, as well as closer Edwin Diaz. Nimmo’s injury is unfortunate, but the Mets are happy to know it’s only moderate.
Max Scherzer pitched seven shutout innings at West Palm Beach on Saturday and looks ready for the season. He allowed four hits, struck out eight and walked one.
Tommy Hunter’s candidacy in the reliever battle cannot be ignored. The veteran right-hander and clubhouse favorite hasn’t allowed an earned run this spring. The 36-year-old allowed just three hits, walked one and struck out seven in six innings of work.