Jeff McNeil Heads to Injured List
The New York Mets have placed infielder/outfielder Jeff McNeil on the injured list with a left hamstring strain. The Mets have called up an old friend with playoff experience in Ruben Tejada. The official word on McNeil’s injury is a low-grade hamstring strain. After last night’s game, McNeil said it “didn’t feel great” but also said, “I don’t think it’s terrible.”
Jeff McNeil has been placed on the 10-day IL (low-grade left hamstring strain) and we have selected the contract of Rubén Tejada from Triple-A Syracuse. Jacob Rhame has been transferred to the 60-Day IL. #Mets pic.twitter.com/ZXMboiSyPh
— New York Mets (@Mets) August 14, 2019
The Jeff McNeil Effect
McNeil is one of the heartbeats of not only the Mets but their rabid fan base. He is a true sparkplug for this team. McNeil is batting .332 and was the Major League leader up until a few games ago. The injury to McNeil opens up a hole in the Mets lineup that just can’t be filled. McNeil despite being an infielder was playing rightfield up until second basemen Robinson Cano tore his hamstring a week and a half ago.
Jeff McNeil has been shuffling between second base and right field since the Cano injury. His versatility is one of his best assets. Despite the great seasons by Pete Alonso and Michael Conforto, McNeil is considered by many to be the MVP of this team.
Second Injured List Stint
McNeil, who had previously spent time on the injured list this season with an injury to the same hamstring, said he didn’t feel a pop. An MRI revealed the strain is mild. But still, hamstring injuries are tricky especially when it’s the second time McNeil will miss time with the same injury.
The Mets obviously hope McNeil does not miss more than ten days. The Mets do have two off days in the next two weeks which could save games for McNeil. Hopefully, the Mets can avoid a slide that will force them to decide to rush McNeil back.
Ruben Tejada is no stranger to the Mets or this fanbase. He is most remembered for that famous play against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game two of the 2015 National League Divisional series. Tejada was covering second base when Chase Utley was trying to break up a double play attempt. Utley did more than break up a double play, though. He broke Tejada’s right fibula, ending both his season and, up to now, his Met career.
Tejada signed a minor league contract with the Mets prior to this season. Tejada, despite being only 29 years old, could not find a job in the majors. With a combined .337 batting average between Double-A and Triple-A, Tejada was not called up after Cano got injured. Instead, the Mets opted to use McNeil at second and signed Joe Panik, who was released by the San Francisco Giants.
Tejada will be used as a backup to Panik and shortstop Amed Rosario.
Injuries have depleted the Mets of their outfield depth all season long. Yoenis Cespedes was always considered a long shot to play this season. Brandon Nimmo who started in left field on opening day has been on the injured list since May. Dominic Smith, who had been playing left field because of his bat, went down in July. Met officials don’t expect either player to return until September.
The Mets are now down to four healthy outfielders. J.D. Davis, normally a third baseman, has been playing leftfield every day and will continue to do so. Conforto who had been playing centerfield will now move back to his natural rightfield position. Juan Lagares stands to gain the most playing time being a natural centerfielder with Aaron Altherr backing up all three outfield positions.
After a recent hot streak which included an eight-game winning streak, the Mets have lost two straight games. Eleven of the next 14 games will be against teams currently in playoff positions. This is not the time to be short one of your best players. The Mets have had a crazy roller coaster of a season and this is just one more turn on the ride.
The Mets will be closely watching the waiver wire for any players who can help in the next two weeks. But for now, the next man up needs to produce.
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