Mets’ Carlos Carrasco out 6-8 weeks with hamstring injury
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PORT ST. LUCIE — Carlos Carrasco was on the right track to beginning the season in the Mets rotation, until he wasn’t.
Only hours after the right-hander threw 20 pitches in a simulated game Thursday and manager Luis Rojas expressed confidence Carrasco could be ready for his first start of the regular season, the Mets announced the veteran pitcher was undergoing an MRI exam for a strained right hamstring sustained during sprints following his throwing session.
Carrasco, according to a source, sustained a high-grade tear that will likely cost him six to eight weeks on the injured list.
The setback opens the door for two of the three among David Peterson, Joey Lucchesi and Jordan Yamamoto to join the starting rotation.
“We have talked about the depth when it comes to that, we always praise the work that has been done by our front office,” Rojas said after the Mets lost 3-1 to the Nationals in a Grapefruit League game at Clover Park.
Carrasco, who turns 34 this weekend, was behind schedule in his throwing after last week experiencing elbow discomfort and shutting down. He started workouts late this spring to receive extra medical evaluation, as a leukemia survivor.
Rojas was unaware of the hamstring injury when he spoke to reporters before the Mets faced the Nationals. The manager had indicated he was looking toward Carrasco throwing 35-40 pitches in his next session and still having enough time to prepare for his first start.
“It’s devastating, to see how hard Carrasco works, and obviously I think we need him in the rotation to be elite,” Marcus Stroman said. “I am hoping he proceeds through this and we can get him back fairly early. Even if he doesn’t he doesn’t make the Opening Day [roster], I think it’s more important to put emphasis on health and make sure he’s good for those starts after.”
Stroman said his confidence is high in the Mets’ rotation depth.
“I definitely think if there’s a team that can put up with having a few starts out, I think it’s us,” Stroman said. “[But] obviously, we’re waiting for Carrasco to get back because he’s a huge plus to our staff.”
Lucchesi and Yamamoto, who arrived in offseason trades, have been the most impressive of the starting pitchers competing for a job. One vacancy exists because Noah Syndergaard’s rehab from Tommy John surgery won’t be complete before June. Carrasco’s injury leaves a second opening, behind Jacob deGrom, Stroman and Taijuan Walker.
“We have pretty good depth, but not only that, but having a guy like Jake, like Marcus and Peterson and guys also have experience starting games for the last few years gives us a relief when something like this can happen,” Rojas said.
Jerad Eickhoff, Corey Oswalt and Mike Montgomery are other pitchers in camp with major league starting experience. Montgomery, signed to a minor-league contract, has been working from the bullpen this spring, but Rojas said the lefty might be stretched out for starting duty.
“He’s one of those hybrid guys that have done both,” Rojas said. “And the way he threw the other day he looked good. You can see a guy going through the lineup a couple of times with that stuff. We’re working on stretching him out, be multi-inning and always from there you can have a plan.”
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