Dominic Smith embarks on a drug addiction that has no clear end.
He has not played since he sprained his right ankle on July 16, and in his absence, Smith has been replaced by left-handed sluggers Daniel Vogelbach (at designated batter) and Tyler Naquin (in left field).
Smith was expected to play five innings and receive two or three at bats on Thursday-evening with Triple-A Syracuse, which played in Lehigh Valley.
Smith’s former DH partner, JD Davis, was traded to the Giants on the UKTN. Smith has stayed with the Mets even though they don’t have a clear spot for him.
“I imagine he’s getting at bats and going through a rehab assignment in Syracuse,” manager Buck Showalter said before the Mets played the Braves at Citi Field. “And if he’s deemed ready to be physically activated, I’m sure Billy [Eppler] and me and the staff will sit down and talk about what’s next.”
Position players may start a rehabilitation assignment for a maximum of 20 days.
“We’ll see how long that lasts,” Showalter said of Smith, who was chosen to go to Syracuse for about a month earlier this season.
Smith, who starred in 2019 and 2020, has since been unable to find his form. He’s hit .194 without a home run in 58 games for the Mets this season, and the most likely outcome is that when he’s ready, they’ll keep him in the minors.
But depth in the minors is often called for when injuries strike.
“Who knows what will happen by the time Dom can start playing physically again?” said Showalter.
Jeff McNeil hasn’t played a game in the outfield since July 22, as the additions – especially from lefthander Naquin – have allowed McNeil to maintain his more natural second base.
In the nine games he played on the infield during the period, McNeil batted .342 to get into the game. It’s possible there’s a connection and McNeil’s legs are fresher, but Showalter was skeptical.
“Maybe I’m wrong, but he’s been a pretty good attacking player wherever we put him,” Showalter said.
Brandon Nimmo was named the Mets recipient of the 2022 Heart and Hustle Award, which recognizes a player from each team who “demonstrates a passion for the game of baseball and best embodies the values, spirit and traditions of the game.”
One player will be chosen as the eventual recipient of the Heart and Hustle Award, as voted by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association.
The Mets chose catcher Patrick Mazeika to Syracuse to make way for James McCann.
Before the game, the Mets played a clip of Mookie Wilson hitting the ball through Bill Buckner’s legs in the 1986 World Series, a moment recalled on TV by Vin Scully. The Mets then had a minute of silence before their first home game since Scully’s death Tuesday.