Injuries are creating question marks for the New York Mets — and by extension, their Triple-A affiliate, the 51s — with a week before the season starts.
Outfielder Juan Lagares strained his oblique Saturday while starter Steven Matz will have his next start skipped with elbow irritation.
Lagares told reporters Sunday at spring training in Florida that his oblique was feeling “way better,” but the Mets will send him for an MRI this week.
Fellow outfielder Brandon Nimmo is still nursing a hamstring injury suffered during the World Baseball Classic, meaning that Michael Conforto might wind up breaking camp with the Mets, though it originally looked like they would send him down to Triple-A to get consistent at-bats.
As for Matz, the Mets have said there is no structural damage.
“It’s worrisome that he continues to be injured off and on,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told reporters in Florida. “That’s the difficulty. We don’t think it’s serious. On the other hand, starting pitchers are relied on every five days. I’m not sure exactly where this is going to take us.”
The Mets already had a battle for the fifth rotation spot, but a Matz injury could mean Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo make the rotation, depending on what the Mets decide to do with Zack Wheeler, who will be held to a strict innings limit.
The Mets will take on the 51s on Thursday in Florida before heading to New York for an exhibition game against the Army Black Knights the next day.
SEWALD CONTINUES BULLPEN QUEST
Las Vegan Paul Sewald, who spent last year as the 51s closer, has forced himself into consideration for the Mets bullpen, despite being a nonroster invitee.
Sewald picked up a save Saturday in another scoreless inning.
In 10 1/3 innings, Sewald has given up just two runs, good for a 1.46 ERA.
Contact Betsy Helfand at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @BetsyHelfand on Twitter.