Brandon Nimmo believes the Mets’ three-game weekend sweep of the Phillies has made it easier for him to sit out with a sore right wrist.
With an 8 ¹/₂-game lead entering their Memorial Day game against the Nationals, Buck Showalter is remaining patient with two of his lineup staples, Nimmo and Jeff McNeil.
While Nimmo remained sidelined for at least one more game, McNeil was back in the lineup as the designated hitter after sitting out Sunday night while experiencing what the Mets described as general “wear and tear” on his legs.
“I think we always go, OK, they’re ready to go, so one more day,” Showalter said before Monday night’s game at Citi Field. “I don’t think that changes, pushing or pulling back. I think there’s just a set way you need to do it, except when you’re at the end and you’re not saving them for something else. You’re not saving them for November baseball.
“So we’re trying to keep the [relief] pitchers out of the league leaders in appearances; that always bodes well. And we’re trying to share the load, and we’ve got the personnel that we’ve been given that helps us share the load.”
Indeed, Triple-A call-up Nick Plummer started Sunday night in the outfield in place of Nimmo and blasted a game-tying home run in the ninth of an eventual 5-4 win in 10 innings. Luis Guillorme also started at second base in place of McNeil, and continued his recent hot hitting with a 2-for-5 night in the leadoff hole.
McNeil, who began Monday’s action batting .317, spent a month on the injured list last season with a strained left hamstring. It’s something he and the Mets are hoping to avoid this season.
“He understands his body and his legs and his upper torso, and it’s ‘in the past if I do this and if I feel this and I push this, this happens.’ So don’t do that,” Showalter said. “He has in the past pushed through some things, and kind of paid a price with it into a little more long-term problem.
“I think the maturity of knowing the signs of something getting close and deciding to back off on it, I think that’s what’s going on, without getting into the exact stuff from a competitive standpoint. He’s just trying to get ahead of some things, but I think it’s very appreciated by me that he felt comfortable to tell us that.”
Showalter added that whatever McNeil is dealing with is “nothing that he couldn’t have played with in Game 162 … but he did the smart thing and we think the day or two will get him back to playing every day.”
Nimmo, who ranks fifth in the National League with a .386 on-base percentage, hasn’t started since Friday’s series opener against the Phillies. He received a cortisone shot in his sprained right wrist and resumed taking swings in the batting cage before Monday’s game.
Before the lineup was announced, Showalter added that both McNeil and Nimmo were expected back “if not [Monday], then [Tuesday].”