Carlos Carrasco’s return looked imminent earlier this week, but his timeline from mid-May now appears to be in doubt.
Carrasco, who was sidelined with bone spurs in his right elbow, was supposed to begin a rehab program this weekend. But an illness prevents him going on a rehab mission. 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 put on the mask and stands away from everyone and wipes everything because he has to throw up.”
Carrasco has been in the Mets clubhouse since the club returned home from Detroit for the weekend series against Colorado, and the Mets can’t figure out what kind of illness he’s dealing with. General manager Billy Eppler called Friday a “stomach virus,” and Showalter said he thought it was 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 part of the flu if someone had it. And everyone gets it in different forms. Some stay in the head, some go to other places, and he’s sick and he’s not going to be able to do what we thought he was going to do.”
Carrasco was placed on injured list with right elbow inflammation April 18, retroactive to April 16, 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 later it was discovered that the inflammation was caused by a bone spur. Carrasco previously had Tommy John surgery and has taken extra precautions in spring training in recent years to make sure his elbow stays in good shape.
CHANGE OF POSITIONS
Eduardo Escobar is making his first start at second base this season in place of Jeff McNeil, who got the day off Saturday. The veteran third baseman has played plenty of second base in the past and took pitches at second Friday.
Escobar was replaced 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 he comes from a pure place, Eduardo is a really good guy and a professional player. Whether it’s about a week ago, coming off the bench at home or getting opportunities when he comes in, he’s always ready.”
Joey Lucchesi is scheduled to start Sunday in the series finale against the Rockies. Showalter has been hesitant to say definitively that he will be left-handed, but reading between the lines it seems the plan is to stick with Lucchesi.
“We’ll definitely support that,” Showalter said. “I just didn’t gather all the information from that day. That’s where we’re leaning, unless something changes I hear. I just want to be sure before I announce it to the Rockies.”