PORT ST. LUCIE— Jason Vargas left a minor league game Friday after being hit on the glove hand by a comebacker. The lefty was sent for X-rays, which the Mets announced were negative. He is considered “day-to-day” by the team.
There was no word on how that would affect the rotation heading into the season. Vargas getting injured, however, is kind of ironic.
He was the lefty the Mets went out and got this spring as insurance against injuries to their rotation. They signed him to a two-year, $ 16 million deal after spring training had already started. After two years of having their seasons torpedoed by injuries to their starting pitchers, they wanted a reliable veteran as insurance to keep the rotation rolling.
With the addition of Vargas, the Mets had planned to move Zack Wheeler into the bullpen to start the season. Despite a rough outing earlier this week against the Nationals, Wheeler has made a strong case to remain in the rotation, especially since Steven Matz has not looked sharp.
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Vargas left in the fifth inning after allowing one earned run on three hits and two walks. He struck out seven.
The Mets are still trying to figure out how to handle Wheeler and Matz. On Monday, Matz is scheduled to start against the Astros. Wheeler will either “piggyback,” meaning come in from the bullpen at the start of an inning, or pitch in a minor-league game.
Yoenis Cespedes said he expects to hit Saturday for the first time since having a cortisone shot in his right wrist. The outfielder has not played in a game since Sunday and was scratched from Tuesday’s game with the sore wrist.
Cespedes, whom the Mets signed to a four-year, $ 110 million deal in the winter of 2016, missed 81 games last season with hamstring strains in both legs.
A Mets source said they were “hopeful” that Cespedes would be back in the lineup on Monday.
The Mets could use the boost in their lineup. With a 4-4 tie to the Orioles Friday, they are winless in their last 10 games.
If there was any concern that Amed Rosario was going to be rusty after missing games last week with a left leg issue, they were erased Friday. The shortstop showed off his hops and his defense against the Orioles.
Rosario made a leaping grab of Jonathan Schoop’s line drive in the fourth, jumping in the air to pull down the ball like a rebound.
“I played some basketball,” Rosario said with a laugh. “Yeah, I can play a little bit.”
He then showed off his wheels in the sixth, running down a line drive that had tipped off Robert Gsellman’s glove. He used a backhand to cut off the ball as it headed to second and then, on the run, fired a strike to first base for the out.
“I feel 100% now,” Rosario said. “I feel like (my timing) is good now. I am getting ready.”
Anthony Swarzak, who has not pitched since leaving a Feb. 27 game with a tight left calf, said he is ready to return to game action on Saturday. Swarzak ran and did fielding drills Friday to prepare. The Mets gave Swarzak a two-year, $ 14 million deal this winter to shore up the back-end of the bullpen.
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