Brandon Nimmo returns, hoping to spark Mets lineup

One day later, Brandon Nimmo was back in the starting lineup batting leadoff — but for real this time. 

The Mets had planned on Nimmo starting in the series opener against the Marlins on Monday, but he was a late scratch because the team’s performance staff didn’t feel he was completely ready after dealing with a minor hamstring injury. He pinch hit in the loss. 

“He’s checked all the boxes to start this game and I’m confident because our performance is confident,” manager Luis Rojas said before the second game of the series in Miami. “We’re pretty confident that he’s going to be in there and he’s going to be OK.” 

After feeling a pinch in his hamstring in Friday’s loss to the Reds, Nimmo was out of the lineup Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Rojas is hopefully getting the team leader in on-base percentage (.422) can help spark the slumbering offense. 

Brandon Nimmo #9 of the New York Mets in action during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on July 18, 2021 in Pittsburgh
Brandon Nimmo did not start Monday’s game against the Marlins.
Justin Berl/Getty Images

“You guys see when he came off the IL, that’s when this team started to hit,” Rojas said. “He got in a really good stretch. I know in the last week, we haven’t been scoring the runs the way we could, but to have him back in there, you feel he can set the tone for us to start scoring more runs.” 

The Mets were without reliever Miguel Castro for just one day. After placing him on the COVID-19 list on Monday, they activated the right-hander on Tuesday when his test came back negative. Castro had a fever on Monday, so the Mets isolated him. He was available out of the bullpen Tuesday. To make room for Castro on the roster, reliever Geoff Hartlieb was sent to Triple-A Syracuse. 

Miguel Castro
Miguel Castro has a 3.48 ERA with the Mets in 2021.
Corey Sipkin for the NY Post

Going back to the start of June, outfielder Kevin Pillar is batting .187 (27-for-144). Of those 27 hits, seven are home runs. He has also struck out 39 times. But Rojas doesn’t believe going back to a part-time player after starting so much due to injuries in the Mets’ outfield is a factor. 

“He’s just not making the same contact,” Rojas said. “He is working really hard. I just think he’s being aggressive with his swing decision, trying to catch the ball way out front, and he can’t lay off breaking balls right now. … No doubt in my mind that this is not the thing getting in his way. Right now he’s going through a little bit of a hitting struggle, but we feel he can make an adjustment as well and be hot soon.” 

Right-hander Robert Gsellman is ahead of schedule after suffering a partially torn right lat and could begin throwing soon, according to Rojas. On the injured list since June 21, Gsellman underwent a follow-up MRI recently which showed significant healing. Gsellman was a valuable piece to the Mets’ bullpen as a long reliever, notching a 3.71 ERA over 26 2/3 innings.

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