Mets get positive Jeff McNeil, Eduardo Escobar injury news

The early returns on the Mets’ injuries were overwhelmingly positive. 

Eduardo Esocbar and Jeff McNeil had to leave the Mets’ 2-1, 10-inning loss to the Phillies in the early innings Friday night. McNeil was back in the lineup Saturday night, however, and there was hope Escobar would avoid the injured list. 

McNeil (right thumb laceration) swung a bat and took ground balls before the game, and said he felt fine. He suffered the injury when he was stepped on by Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins in the second inning. McNeil was batting eighth, rare against right-handers, and playing second base. 

“I woke up today feeling pretty good,” McNeil said. “Not as bad as we thought.” 

When it first happened, McNeil didn’t even realize he was hurt. Upon returning to the dugout, he took off his batting gloves and blood was everywhere. He needed two stitches. 

“I was trying to avoid the tag, make something happen,” said McNeil, who had a 13-game hit streak snapped, after getting just one at-bat. 

Jeff McNeil
Jeff McNeil
Robert Sabo for the NY POST

As for Escobar, an MRI exam came back clean. He was bothered by left side tightness, and departed the series opener for a pinch-hitter in the second inning. It is uncertain how long he will be out. 

“’Esco’ feels as good as you can expect today,” manager Buck Showalter said. “There was nothing there that should be long-term, just a matter of how long we’re willing to wait. It’s like, ‘OK, he might be a little sore, what can he do, what can he not do, can he run, can he play defense, can he hit left-handed, can he hit right-handed.’ We’re trying to figure out all this stuff and make a good decision.” 

Eduardo Escobar
Eduardo Escobar
Getty Images

Minor league infielder Gosuke Katoh was at Citi Field on Saturday, in case the Mets had to place McNeil or Escobar on the IL. Showalter didn’t rule out using outfielder Mark Canha at third base if need be, before it was determined McNeil was healthy enough to play. The manager had four potential lineups on his desk two hours before first pitch. 

Canha played third on Friday night after the injuries, just his fourth game there in his eight-year big league career and his first since 2016. 

He handled his one chance in the fifth, fielding a one-hopper off the bat of J.T. Realmuto and throwing him out. The large Citi Field crowd gave him an ovation. 

“I’ve never seen so many guys scramble for a glove last night,” Showalter said. “It was pretty impressive.” 

The Mets didn’t have that issue Saturday night. With McNeil able to start, Luis Guillorme moved over to third base, where he has started against right-handers in place of Escobar. It enabled the Mets to use their regular lineup as they looked to even the three-games series with Jacob deGrom on the mound.

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