PITTSBURGH — Only one day after getting their final key bat back from the injured list, the Mets have another significant injury issue.
Francisco Lindor was placed on the 10-day IL on Saturday with a right oblique strain, leaving the Mets without one of their hottest hitters for the foreseeable future. Lindor said he was told he sustained a Grade 2, or moderate, strain.
“I don’t have any timetable. I would love to say I’m day to day, but I’m not,” Lindor said. “It’s more like week to week and we’ll go from there.”
Asked about his confidence he will play again this season Lindor responded: “Very confident. I’m not dead.”
Lindor said he felt something odd in the oblique after fouling a ball off in the fifth inning Friday night. On his next swing, he hit a grounder to second base and reached for his right side. He only took a few steps out of the batter’s box before turning right and heading into the first base dugout. He apologized Saturday for not running to first base.
“I couldn’t run,” said Lindor, who owns a .228/.326/.376 slash line with 11 homers and 36 RBIs.
The injury came just as Lindor had begun producing at a high level. After a sluggish start to the season, Lindor has a .333/.489/.500 slash line in July with two homers and 10 RBIs.
After months of the Mets trying to get their key offensive players together, J.D. Davis returned from the IL on Friday, leaving the team whole, in a sense, if only for a few hours. Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo are other players who returned from extended IL stints in recent weeks. Lindor, who signed a $341 million contract extension in March, had been among the Mets’ most durable players this season, appearing in every game except one.
Travis Blankenhorn was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse to fill Lindor’s roster spot. Luis Guillorme played the final four innings at shortstop on Friday and could be an option there, on at least a part-time basis.
It’s possible Lindor’s injury will push the front office to trade for a shortstop option who could be moved to third base once Lindor returns, such as Trevor Story or Javier Baez (both of whom are in their walks years for out-of-contention teams). But the Mets also signed Jonathan Villar last offseason in part because of his shortstop experience. Jose Peraza also has experience at the position.
“We have three guys that can come in and play short for us in any situation, so we’re covered there,” Rojas said.
Villar’s playing time has largely come at third base — Davis was just activated Friday following 2 ½ months on the IL after rehabbing from a torn ligament in his left hand. Before Lindor’s injury, Rojas had suggested Villar and Davis would share playing time at third, but that plan might already be obsolete given the latest circumstances.
Lindor was acquired by the Mets last winter, with Carlos Carrasco, in a deal that sent Amed Rosario, Andres Gimenez and two prospects to Cleveland. Carrasco still hasn’t pitched for the Mets this season after tearing his right hamstring in spring training. He made his first minor league rehab start Thursday.