Taijuan Walker’s knee, Travis Jankowski’s roster status, and sorting through the rotation rubble
Taijuan Walker's knee flared up during his final spring start against Washington
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets were blown out 14-0 by the Nationals in their final spring game on Tuesday
RHP Taijuan Walker allowed six runs in 1 1/3 IP on Tuesday, and said to reporters after his outing the knee which was operated on in January was sore and he couldn’t put much weight on it while pitching. Walker is still expecting to make his start in the first turn through the rotation
RHP Max Scherzer believes he is on-track to pitch on Friday (story)
Brandon Nimmo received an injection of medication in his stiff neck earlier this week, and hopes to be ready for opening day (story)
OF’s Travis Jankowski and Nick Plummer along with RHP Félix Peña are on the major league taxi squad for opening day - the Mets would have to make a 40-man roster move in order to activate any of them
Jankowski is expected to be on the opening day roster if Scherzer is ready to pitch (New York Post)
The Mets still have not announced their pitching plans for opening day
The Mets designated RHP Jordan Yamamoto for assignment
Former Met Tommy Davis passed away at the age of 83
Former Met Todd Frazier announced his retirement on Tuesday
Today’s Game 🗓
The Mets are scheduled to hold a mid-afternoon workout at Nationals Park today, weather permitting. They open the regular season on Thursday afternoon at 4:05 PM EDT against the Nationals at Nationals Park in Washington.
Sorting through the rubble in the Mets rotation 📝
Ten days ago, the Mets rotation was intact, entering the season arguably as the most potent force in the game.
And here we are, about 24 hours from the first pitch of the season being thrown and three of their five starting pitchers are hurt, questionable or both and they now don’t even know who is throwing the first pitch of their season, let alone how it’s all going to have looked by the end of their first weekend.
It’s hard to believe.
While the Mets received encouraging news on Tuesday when Max Scherzer came through his critical bullpen session well enough to make his Mets debut on Friday against his former team, another problem surfaced in what has become a chaotic week for the Mets pitching staff.
Taijuan Walker was ineffective in what was supposed to be his final spring tune-up before opening day, allowing six runs in only 1 1/3 IP and fastball velocity in the mid-to-upper 80s.
Any onlooker knew something was amiss with Walker simply by the eye test. Then he spoke after the game about his outing.
Walker explained to reporters after his outing the knee which was operated on during the off-season to remove damage cartilage had flared up and was causing discomfort, causing him to have trouble landing on his knee.
“I was just using all arm,” Walker explained. “We didn’t want to push it so we just shut it down.”
Walker still believes he make his first start against the Nationals on Sunday as-scheduled, although Mets manager Buck Showalter understandably offered more of a wait-and-see approach to the matter.
The rub with Walker is he was already behind the other starting pitchers in camp who, outside of Max Scherzer, were all behind themselves in terms of simply ramping up their innings and pitch counts ahead of the regular season. Walker did expect he’d be able to make a five inning start in the first turn through the rotation, but that was before yesterday’s wrinkle with his knee.
The Mets were already left to scramble to find a starter for opening day and still haven’t made an announcement on that. Now they might be left to scramble for a starter for Sunday’s game as well.
For opening day at least, the formula seemed simple at first. They could have Tylor Megill start and hopefully give them 3-4 effective innings, and then perhaps piggyback him with Trevor Williams who was stretched out to about 60 pitches this past Sunday in his relief outing against the Marlins. But with Walker’s status up in the air - no matter whether he thinks he will make this start or not - the Mets now have to hold Williams back to potentially start or bail out Walker on Sunday in Washington, forcing them to use David Peterson in relief on opening day instead.
Peterson allowed six runs - including three home runs - in only 6 2/3 innings pitched in camp, and missed most of the 2021 season with a foot injury.
The only good news for the Mets right now is they can take advantage of expanded rosters through the first month of the season. That will at least afford them space to carry extra bodies on the pitching staff to help mitigate this shortage of starting pitching they’ve suddenly incurred. But it could be a struggle to find quality innings from those bodies, especially with their healthy starters still needing to be stretched out and the need to potentially force pitchers on the staff into uncomfortable roles and positions.
To top it all off, the Mets have two off-days between tomorrow and May 9 with a doubleheader against the Braves to contend with. So the schedule isn’t exactly playing into their favor, either.
Again, its hard to believe the pickle the Mets find themselves in with the pitching staff yet again.
Around the League 🚩
The Rays and OF Manny Margot agreed to a two-year, $19m extension (TB Times)
The Diamondbacks are transitioning Luke Weaver into a bullpen role (MLB.com)
Brewers C Pedro Severino has received an 80-game PED suspension from Major League Baseball
As expected, Marwin González has been added to the Yankees active roster (team release)
Former Met RHP Dellin Betances is headed to the Dodgers on a minor league deal (Athletic)