An encouraging night from Brett Baty turned into a worrisome night.
Held hitless in five straight games, Baty singled in two of his three at-bats Wednesday but could not take a fourth. The young third baseman was removed before the start of the seventh inning with what the club called left groin soreness, which will require tests.
After the 7-1 win over the Diamondbacks at Citi Field, Mets manager Buck Showalter said Baty’s groin had been “bothering him some” recently and “stiffened up” when he was running the bases in the bottom of the sixth.
As Baty went out to field his position in the next inning, Showalter and a trainer walked on the field and talked with the 23-year-old, who was replaced by Jonathan Arauz. Baty is expected to undergo imaging Thursday morning.
Baty had entered play in an 0-for-15 skid that he snapped with singles to right field and center field and came around to score twice.
It has been a frustrating season for the rookie, who hit his way to the majors in April but struggled against major league pitching and was eventually demoted in August.
Baty returned this month but so did his struggles, his OPS at .596 for the season.
If Baty has to miss time, Mark Vientos would be the natural selection for extra time at third base, but it’s also possible Ronny Mauricio gets a chance.
The Mets would like Mauricio to be more diversified, and he played a few games at third with Triple-A Syracuse.
Mauricio did not play Wednesday because of an illness, Showalter said.
Starling Marte, recovering from a groin strain, went through a full workout before the game and impressed in batting practice as he tries to make a late-season return.
“You could tell on his face he’s in a good place,” Showalter said.
The right fielder has had a poor season and rarely has looked like himself after an offseason groin surgery from which Marte had not fully recovered.
The Mets placed him back on the injured list on Aug. 7 and sent him to see a specialist in Philadelphia. Marte said this month that another groin surgery could be on the table, but he is hoping to avoid another procedure.
“It seems like some of the things [doctors and the Mets] have been doing have really helped him,” Showalter said after watching Marte work out and appear to be in better health. “Got to see some reminders of things that he was capable of last year.”
Last year, Marte was an All-Star who consistently batted second for the club and finished with an .814 OPS. This year, the 34-year-old Marte has posted a .625 OPS and clearly been worse defensively.
The Mets hope his year is not over. Marte is expected to join the team when it leaves Sunday for a series in Miami, and he likely will be a part of some simulated games in Port St. Lucie that could replace a rehab assignment.
“I hope that he can get out on the field before the season’s over and finish in a good frame of mind,” Showalter said.
Edwin Diaz (right patellar tendon repair) is expected to join Marte in Port St. Lucie and likely will pitch against some hitters at the facility, a step not yet taken.
Brandon Nimmo moved from center field to left field because of “wear and tear,” Showalter said.
Rafael Ortega played center instead.
The Mets have given Nimmo several mini breaks at the end of the season by sparing him from everyday center-field duties.
“He had a lot of running [Tuesday] night, and his legs were a little heavy,” Showalter said.
To bring up Joey Lucchesi, the Mets optioned righty Sam Coonrod.
The Mets announced that Citi Field will host the first ever Dominican Winter League Series between Los Tigres del Licey and Las Águilas Cibaeñas.
The rivals will play a three-game series from Nov. 10-12.
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