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It’s not quite the cavalry, but it’s at least a start.
That certainly beats the status quo.
The injury-ravaged Mets are hoping to activate top reliever Seth Lugo and power-hitting first baseman Pete Alonso on Monday at the start of a nine-game road trip against the Diamondbacks, Padres and Orioles.
Manager Luis Rojas said the plan is for the NL East leaders to have Lugo on Monday and, as long as Alonso continues to move in the right direction as he ramps up his workload, he could be back by then, too.
“We’re really comfortable about him, where he is now,” Rojas said of Alonso before the Mets hosted the Braves on Saturday night at Citi Field. “It’s trending well. … We still want to see the progression [he’s made] the last couple of days [on Saturday and Sunday.
“There is a big chance he might not go on a rehab assignment, there’s a big probability. These two days are key for that.”
Lugo, the team’s best reliever the past few years, has yet to pitch this season after offseason elbow surgery. He is eligible to come off the 60-day injured list on Monday. The plan was for him to pitch on consecutive days before being activated, but Triple-A Syracuse was rained out Friday night. If he was able to go two innings on Saturday, then the Mets would feel comfortable with ending his rehab assignment at that point.
So far, Lugo has thrown 3 ¹/₃ innings over three outings, allowing one earned run, walking three, giving up three hits and striking out three.
Even without Lugo, the Mets’ bullpen has been one of the best in baseball. It’s 3.45 ERA is the fifth-lowest in the sport. Getting him back would only enhance a major strength.
“His ability to throw two innings in the middle of the game or even later — have a two-inning save — a guy like that is very valuable,” Rojas said. “It will keep guys we’ve been using a lot even fresher. He can offer so much and he can make us an even better bullpen when he joins us.”
As for Alonso, he was eligible to come off the 10-day injured list on Saturday, after sustaining a right wrist sprain. He has looked good taking swings against the high velocity pitching machine and off coaches in live batting practice, according to Rojas. With so many key position players sidelined, from J.D. Davis and Brandon Nimmo to Jeff McNeil and Michael Conforto, getting Alonso back would be a major addition to a lineup featuring mostly backups and retreads. They have scored three runs or fewer seven times in the past 11 games.
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