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Mets hoping for good news on Drew Smith and Brooks Raley injuries

PHILADELPHIA — The Mets are keeping their fingers crossed regarding two of the best weapons in their Opening Day bullpen.

Drew Smith, who was expected first Tuesday and then Wednesday, had “a little setback,” manager Carlos Mendoza said, while Brooks Raley was diagnosed with UCL strain and is delaying his decision on surgery.

Smith first: The right-hander, who is on the injured list retroactive to April 24 because of right shoulder soreness, played catch before Tuesday’s loss and reported “tightness” in his back of his shoulder.

Mets pitcher Drew Smith closes out the 9th inning
Drew Smith’s rehabilitation process has taken a backseat. JASON SZENES FOR THE NEW YORK POST

Smith’s previous problem was felt in the front of his shoulder.

“We don’t think it’s anything serious,” Mendoza said before the Mets lost 10-5 to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

Smith did not pitch Wednesday and is expected to do so again Thursday.

“We don’t anticipate it to be a long setback,” said Mendoza, who added that the club didn’t think the problem required further testing on Smith’s shoulder.

Raley, meanwhile, visited Dr. Keith Meister in Texas on Tuesday and learned he had a UCL strain but “is healing,” Mendoza said.

Mets relief pitcher Brooks Raley throws a pitch in the sixth inning of the first game of a doubleheader
Brooks Raley is still deciding whether to have surgery on his strained UCL. JASON SZENES FOR THE NEW YORK POST

UCL strains often require surgery – a risky proposition for a southpaw who turns 36 next month – and Raley apparently wants to give his throwing elbow a chance to bounce back on its own.

Mendoza said the plan was for Raley to not be able to pitch again for two weeks and then “see where we are.”

“I don’t know,” Mendoza said, when asked about optimism that surgery could be avoided. “It’s hard for me to sit here and speculate.”

After shaking up the lineup, the Mets also shook up the starting lineup.

Pete Alonso reached second place for the first time this season, after Brandon Nimmo and ahead of Francisco Lindor.

JD Martinez cleaned up, Mark Vientos fifth and Starling Marte – normally the No. 2 hitter – was relegated to sixth.

“I’m just trying to get something going,” Mendoza said. “I’ve been loving Pete’s bats lately. …But I like Marte’s versatility.

Jeff McNeil, who was on the ground for several moments after fouling his left knee in the sixth inning, is OK, Mendoza said.

“But he’s fine, but he’s fine,” Mendoza added.

Adrian Houser made his second appearance out of the bullpen and allowed three runs (only one earned) over the final two innings.

New York Post

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