The New York Mets are, generally speaking, getting healthier. They had 17 players on the injured list at one point this month, but some of them are already back or will return soon. The pitching depth, however, has suffered major hits in the last couple of weeks.
First, Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Carrasco suffered setbacks in their respective recoveries, all but dismissing them for the first half of the season. And now, left-handed starter Joey Lucchesi will be out of action for a while, too.
The southpaw has a torn ligament in his pitching elbow, according to a piece published in the Metsâ€™ website. An MRI revealed the awful news, and while the team and the pitcher are looking for a second opinion, Tommy John surgery is a real possibility since it is a UCL tear.
The news couldnâ€™t come at a worse time for the Mets and Lucchesi, who had risen up his performance significantly in the last few weeks. The lefty had a 1.19 ERA over his last five starts.
After twirling 5 1/3 scoreless innings on Friday, Lucchesi complained of left elbow soreness, and thatâ€™s when the Mets had him undergo the MRI.
â€œEven though thatâ€™s the first thing that comes to mind about having the surgery, he wanted — and we wanted — to hear a second opinion on it,â€ Mets manager Luis Rojas said to MLB.com.
Lucchesi is currently 1-4 with a 4.46 ERA, mostly the product of an awful start of the season.
â€œItâ€™s a big loss for us,â€ Rojas said. â€œA talented young kid that I think is just getting better every time he goes out there. Letâ€™s see what comes out of this. The second opinion will let us know for sure what the decisionâ€™s going to be.â€
The Mets will be players at the deadline
On the heels of Lucchesiâ€™s injury, the Mets are widely expected to be players at the trade deadline as buyers. They need reliability and upside to replace Lucchesi, Carrasco, and Syndergaard.
In the meantime, Jerad Eickhoff will likely handle a spot in the rotation. He pitched well in the second game of Mondayâ€™s doubleheader.
â€œItâ€™s a challenge once again,â€ Rojas said. â€œThis is a baseball season. Itâ€™s full of challenges. You have it with the injuries. You have it with the ups and downs of some guys throughout the season, and you have it facing the other teams, really good teams that youâ€™re playing. So thereâ€™s challenges everywhere. Weâ€™re meeting this one right now.â€