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Drew Smith’s return presents the Mets with a tough roster decision

MILWAUKEE — Drew Smith’s expected return from the injured roster on Tuesday puts the Mets up against a potentially difficult roster question.

“How would you make room for him?” manager Buck Showalter asked rhetorically before the Mets faced the Brewers.

Barring a stint in IL for a pitcher, the Mets will likely have to choose between optioning David Peterson at Triple-A Syracuse or naming veteran Tommy Hunter for an assignment. The Mets traded relievers Stephen Nogosek and Alex Claudio to Syracuse ahead of Monday’s 7-2 victory to free up space for Max Scherzer and Tylor Megill.

Scherzer threw six perfect innings and struck out nine on his return from IL.

Peterson pitched 2 ¹/₃ innings in relief Saturday as he auditioned for a potential second left-hander role in the bullpen ahead of the playoffs. Hunter has appeared mostly in low-leverage relief roles this season and achieved a 2.42 ERA.

“We have health issues that we will look into and who will be healthy,” Showalter said, noting reliever Mychal Givens (COVID shortlisted) will return from IL before the end of the season.

The return of Drew Smith presents the Mets with a tough decision.
Robert Sabo for NY POST

Smith will return from a lat strain that has sidelined him since late July.

“Drew was one of our best relief pitchers,” Showalter said. “We’ll see if he can get back to that form.”

Showalter said he was still in discussions about how Megill would be used from the bullpen. The right-hander has struggled in his last two rehab appearances for Syracuse, but Showalter said that’s nothing to worry about.

“I think the biggest concern was health,” Showalter said before Megill pitched an inning and gave up two runs on two hits while striking out one against the Brewers on Monday.

The Mets entered the game with a .597 road winning percentage this season, which ranks third in franchise history. Only the 1986 and 1969 teams (0.654 and 0.600, respectively) have better road winning percentages. Both of these teams have won the World Series. The Mets haven’t reached 45 road wins since 2007. They were one win away from matching that total going into Monday’s game.

Mark Canha (0 for 3) entered the game with 21 touchdowns per throw, one shy of the franchise record set by Brandon Nimmo (1 for 4) in 2018. Overall, the Mets were within three touchdowns by throws from the Reds. ‘ modern record of 105 set in 2021.

The Mets are on track to have baseball’s highest payroll for the first time since 1989, among a record six teams willing to pay an expense penalty.

The Dodgers, who started the season as top spenders, fell to second place due to the suspension of Trevor Bauer.

The Mets entered the final full month of the season with a payroll of $273.9 million, according to updated numbers through Aug. 31 compiled by Major League Baseball.

The Dodgers are second with $267.2 million, followed by the Yankees with $254.4 million.

— With PA

New York Post

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