Top prospect Robert Gsellman nursing injury; six-man rotation possible

After getting called up from Double-A Binghamton to Las Vegas, excitement was high for right-hander Robert Gsellman, the Mets No. 12 prospect.

But in his first start at Triple-A, he was less than superb, allowing nine runs (five earned) in three innings of work.

51s manager Wally Backman announced Gsellman will miss his next scheduled start Thursday against Reno, partly because of performance and partly because of injury.

Gsellman is nursing a quad injury, which may have impacted his start last weekend. The issue developed in spring training and never fully healed, according to manager Wally Backman.

“When he’s ready, he will definitely be back in the rotation,” Backman said. “He is our No. 1 pitching prospect that we have right now.”

Backman said the plan is for Gsellman to miss one start, which would project him to pitch next week in Reno. In his place will be Logan Verrett, a right-hander recently optioned from the Mets.

Verrett is not a placeholder for Gsellman, Backman said. He wants both Verrett and Gsellman to get into the rhythm of pitching every fifth day, which would create a problem for Las Vegas.

With Gabriel Ynoa, Sean Gilmartin, Rafael Montero and Duane Below all pitching well in the rotation, it will take creativity on the 51s’ part to throw Gsellman and Verrett into that mix. Backman said a six-man rotation is not out of the question.

“That’s an option,” Backman said. “That won’t be my decision.”

It would be the Mets’ decision. It is possible the Mets decide Verrett would be best suited out of the bullpen, where he made 15 of his 19 appearances for New York this season.

Cecchini’s struggle

Shortstops typically make more errors than any other position on the field, but Gavin Cecchini’s number this season is still alarming. He made six in the four-game series against Albuquerque, including three on Thursday and two on Saturday, giving him 18 on the season, by far the most on the team. The next highest is catcher Johnny Monell with six.

“He’s a hard worker and he was out again early today working on his throwing,” Backman said. “It’s just something he has to overcome.”

The positive is that his hitting is compensating for his shortcomings in the field. He is hitting .311/.374/.402 with 17 walks and 23 strikeouts in 183 plate appearances.

“He’s a 22-year-old kid here in Triple-A that has had some rough goes at it defensively so far,” Backman said. “But it hasn’t really affected his hitting yet. Defense is something we should be able to fix or improve a lot more than you could the hitting part of it.”

Closer carousel

During the last home stand, Backman named right-hander Erik Goeddel as closer and said it was his job to lose. The Mets proceeded to recall Goeddel, leaving the 51s without a closer.

During the ninth inning Sunday, the 51s called on right-hander Paul Sewald, who was the closer before being replaced with Goeddel. Backman said to expect more of that.

“I would like Sewald to be our closer and he knows that,” Backman said.

Sewald was replaced with two outs and a runner on third by Josh Smoker, who threw a wild pitch to allow the tying run to score. It was the second of three blown saves for the 51s in the game.

Justin Emerson can be reached at jemerson@reviewjournal.com. Follow on Twitter: @J15Emerson

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