PHOENIX -- The Mets' Triple-A pitchers continue knocking on the Major League door.
One day after Daisuke Matsuzaka carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning for Triple-A Las Vegas, Rafael Montero did likewise in a win over Fresno. Montero ultimately allowed two hits and two runs over 6 1/3 innings, improving to 2-0 while actually increasing his ERA to 2.60.
Matsuzaka has been even sharper since the Mets demoted him to Las Vegas at the end of Spring Training, stringing together a 2.25 ERA over his first two starts despite a pair of no-decisions. Jacob deGrom has been better than all of them, posting an 0.82 ERA. And Noah Syndergaard has at least held his own, putting together a 1-1 record with a 4.09 ERA.
The 51s have not yet used any of those pitchers in relief, but they could soon. Mets manager Terry Collins recently said that he would like to see Montero and deGrom -- though not Syndergaard, the organization's top overall prospect -- pitch out of the Vegas bullpen to see if they might be able to contribute in relief at the Major League level.
Granderson, Lagares depart with injuries
PHOENIX -- Curtis Granderson grimaced as he sat at his locker after Monday's game, grunting as he struggled to put on his shoes and socks. A few stalls down, Juan Lagares discussed a type of leg pain he had never felt before.
Such was the state of New York's outfield following Monday's 7-3 win over the D-backs, leaving the Mets unsure about the severity of their injuries and concerned with who will be healthy enough to play come Tuesday. Losing two starting outfielders within minutes while a third, Chris Young, remained on the disabled list, the Mets faced the possibility of having to put Lagares on the DL as well.
"We look at the big picture -- it's tough for us," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "Somebody's got to step up. Somebody else will need to be the guy."
Granderson's injury was the less serious of the two. Ranging back in an attempt to catch Miguel Montero's RBI double in the first inning, Granderson crashed into the fence as the ball popped out of his glove. After the play, he spent several moments shaking his arm while conversing with trainer Ray Ramirez and Collins, but he remained in the game.
Granderson struck out in his first at-bat following the injury, then hit an opposite-field RBI single through the vacated left side of the infield in his second. He also caught the only other ball that came his way on defense.
But five innings later, he left the game as soreness crept throughout the left side of his body. X-rays on Granderson's forearm, rib cage and knee were all negative, and the Mets consider him day to day -- though they do not expect him to play Tuesday.
"As the game kept going on, things just started to tighten up a little bit," said Granderson, who missed two significant chunks of last season with a fractured right forearm and fractured left pinkie finger. "The great thing is all the X-rays were negative. The bad thing is I'm just a little sore right now, and we'll see how I feel tomorrow."
Mere minutes after Granderson left the game, Lagares strained his right hamstring while running out a fielder's choice in the seventh. Like Granderson, Lagares said he planned to wait and see how he feels in the morning before making any decisions. But the Mets, anticipating a potential disabled-list stint, plan to bring someone to Chase Field on the taxi squad prior to Tuesday's game.
"If he's out a week, it will be two weeks," Collins said.
Unlike Granderson, who was hitting .170 in 13 games prior to his injury, Lagares had developed into a critical part of New York's offense early this season. In addition to playing his usual Gold Glove-caliber defense, Lagares was batting .314 with seven RBIs, tied for most on the team.
"Nobody wants that to happen," Lagares said. "There's nothing you can do about it, just see what happens tomorrow."
In the interim, the Mets are making contingency plans. When Lagares left Monday's game, the team shifted Lucas Duda -- who had not taken a single rep in the outfield all spring -- to left field for the first time since June, moving Eric Young to center and placing Andrew Brown in right. Collins could theoretically proceed with that alignment until Friday, when Chris Young is eligible to return from the disabled list, but he would be spreading his roster dangerously thin. (Duda, who has spoken critically about playing the outfield in the past, said he "would actually look forward to" such an assignment because it's "something different.")
Assuming Lagares goes on the disabled list, another option would be to recall Kirk Nieuwenhuis, a versatile defensive outfielder, from Triple-A Las Vegas and start him in center. That would give the Mets ample outfield insurance, allowing them to use either Duda or Eric Young in left. Or the Mets could gamble and purchase the contract of Bobby Abreu, a 40-year-old veteran who is batting .500 at Las Vegas but who is limited as an outfield defender.
Answers will come Tuesday, once the Mets determine how Granderson and Lagares feel.
The Mets and PIX11 will host their eighth annual Weather Education Day at Citi Field on April 24, prior to their 1:10 p.m. ET game against the Cardinals. PIX11 weather experts Mr. G and Linda Church will give 8,000 students from the tri-state area a pregame meteorology lesson beginning at 11 a.m. Tickets are on sale at Mets.com/Education.