Carlos Carrasco’s return looked imminent earlier this week, but his mid-May timeline now appears to be in doubt.
Carrasco, who has been sidelined with bone spurs in his right elbow, was slated to make a rehab start this weekend. But an illness is preventing him from going out on a rehab assignment. His start was moved from Friday to Saturday, then to Sunday, and now the Mets are unsure when and where it will take place as the 36-year-old right-hander continues to deal with some sort of illness.
“He’s not doing well,” manager Buck Showalter said Saturday before the Mets played the second game of a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field. “He’s got the mask on and staying away from everyone and wiping everything down because he does have to throw.”
Carrasco has been present in the Mets clubhouse since the club returned home from Detroit for the weekend series against Colorado, and the Mets can’t seem to figure out what sort of illness it is that he’s dealing with. General manager Billy Eppler called it a “stomach virus” Friday and Showalter said he thinks it’s the flu Saturday.
“I guess you could call it a form of the flu. That’s the word used today,” Showalter said. “I guess a stomach bug could be considered a part of the flu if anybody has had it. And everybody gets it in different forms. Some stay in the head some it gets other places, and he’s sick, and he’s not going to be able to make what we thought he was going to make.”
Carrasco was placed on the injured list with right elbow inflammation April 18, retroactive to April 16, a few days after making his third start of the season in Oakland. It was his best start of the season and lowered his ERA to 8.56. But the inflammation was later found to be caused by a bone spur. Carrasco has previously had Tommy John surgery on the joint and has taken extra precautions in spring training over the last few years to ensure his elbow stays in good condition.
Eduardo Escobar is making his first start at second base this season, playing in place of Jeff McNeil, who received a day off Saturday. The veteran third baseman has played plenty of second base in the past and was taking grounders at second Friday.
Escobar has been supplanted by Brett Baty at third base. The writing was on the wall after his cold start to the season and Baty’s hot start in Triple-A, but the team still values his contributions inside the clubhouse and on the field.
“He’s been very supportive of Brett and he wants to contribute,” general manager Billy Eppler said Friday. “And it comes from a pure place, Eduardo is a really genuine, good guy and a professional player. Whether it’s about a week ago, coming off the bench at home, or getting his opportunities when he gets in, but he’s always staying prepared.”
Joey Lucchesi is tentatively slated to start Sunday in the series finale against the Rockies. Showalter was hesitant to definitively say he would use the left-hander but reading between the lines it sounds as though the plan is still to stick with Lucchesi.
“We’ll shore that up for sure,” Showalter said. “I just haven’t gathered all the information from the day. That’s where we’re leaning unless something I hear changes. I just want to be sure before I announce it to the Rockies.”