After the New York Mets 2-0 loss on Wednesday afternoon to the Atlanta Braves it was announced that outfielder Jay Bruce is dealing with a sore back/upper butt area.
Bruce, 31, woke up with a sore back/butt/hip on Wednesday though he decided to play through it. “They are pretty sure it’s muscular,” Bruce said. “It’s manageable. I just feel it sometimes on certain swings it gets it a little more.”
He went 0-for-3 and popped out to shortstop to end the Mets loss with the tying run on second base.
The veteran was taken out of a game earlier in June with a sore back and has battled plantar fasciitis all season. The banged up Bruce is unlikely to play on Thursday night as the Mets begin a four-games series against the Arizona Diamondbacks according to manager Mickey Callaway.
Bruce could sit out again on Saturday when the Mets face lefty starter Patrick Corbin.
There you have two days already that he likely won’t play. Only eight more days and you have a DL stint! Of course, given the Mets handling of injuries (yes, even after firing Ray Ramirez), I’m not entirely sure they know it’s been switched to a 10-day disabled list.
The back/butt/hip/foot issue is obviously something that has lingered for Bruce. We’re talking about a guy that had a .832 OPS and a career-high 36 homers in 2017. This season, Bruce has a .630 OPS and three homers. The last time Bruce homered was on May 7, he has 95 homerless at-bats since.
Defense has been a another huge problem for Bruce this year, with him going from 10 DRS in right field last season to -2 DRS this season for the Mets.
Of the healthy outfield options in Las Vegas right now, left-handed hitting Kevin Kaczmarski seems to be the best choice. Currently hitting .375/.415/.500 in 18 games after missing a large chunk of the season with an injury he suffered at the end of spring training.
Kaczmarski, 26, has a minor league career slash line of .299/.379/.419 with 145 walks and 207 strikeouts in 330 games. He doesn’t have the typical type of power you look for from a corner outfielder (150 games in RF, 144 in LF, 38 in CF) though he does put the ball in play and is a solid defender. He’s not on the 40-man roster.
The Mets could also decide to stay within the current 25-man roster by using a combo of Jose Bautista and Ty Kelly in right field until Bruce comes back. It could also give the Mets an opportunity ti see Dominic Smith in right field as Wilmer Flores is likely to return from his DL stint at some point this weekend.
We know this Bruce to the DL discussion would be much different if he wasn’t a -0.6 WAR player this season, but he is and the Mets aren’t losing anything by playing if safe here.
Bruce simply isn’t producing, doesn’t look healthy and the wise thing for the Mets to do with be putting him on the DL before they play Arizona tonight.