Injuries continue to pile up for the New York Mets, who play the Braves in the second game of a three-game series in Atlanta on Tuesday.
On Monday, starting pitcher Taijuan Walker was removed after experiencing tightness in his left side after throwing three scoreless innings, and right fielder Kevin Pillar was hit in the face by a 94 mph fastball in a ghastly accident that left the stadium in silence.
“That was a scary moment,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said of Pillar’s injury. “It was tough to watch that. … He’s a warrior. I saw him get up on his feet and leave and I thought there’s no way he would do that. That was positive to see.”
Pillar was taken to the hospital for tests and a CT scan. Walker will undergo an MRI on Tuesday.
The Mets had to place infielder Jeff McNeil (left hamstring) and outfielder Michael Conforto (right hamstring) on the 10-day injured list Monday.
Rookie outfielders Khalil Lee and Johneshwy Fargas were both promoted from Triple-A Syracuse and made their major league debut in the Mets’ 3-1 win over the Braves. Fargas started in center field and had an RBI double. Lee entered as a replacement when Pillar was injured.
The Mets are already without pitching ace Jacob deGrom (right side tightness), outfielders Albert Almora Jr. (left shoulder contusion) and Brandon Nimmo (left index finger bone bruise) and infielders J.D. Davis (left hand sprain) and Luis Guillorme (right oblique strain).
“Guys are stepping up,” Rojas said. “We lost a couple players and guys came in and stepped up with quality at-bats. We’ve had a different hero every day. That’s a good team when you see that. Guys are keeping us in the game.”
Atlanta will call up lefty Tucker Davidson to start Tuesday, giving the rotation an extra day of rest, while the Mets had not determined their starter. New York is considering a bullpen game with Joey Lucchesi, Robert Gsellman and Tommy Hunter mentioned as potential openers.
Davidson is 2-0 in two starts for Triple-A Gwinnett this season, having allowed up one run in 14 innings (0.64 ERA). He has 14 strikeouts in 14 innings.
The 25-year-old had a rough outing in his only major league appearance (0-1), giving up seven runs, only two earned, in 1 2/3 innings of a start last September against the Boston Red Sox.
There was bad pitching news for the Braves on Monday, too. The club announced that right-hander Huascar Ynoa would miss at least two months with a broken right hand, an injury incurred on Sunday when he angrily pounded the dugout bench during the loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Ynoa, who had been the team’s most pleasant pitching surprise, was upset after he allowed five runs on nine hits over 4 1/3 innings. Ynoa (4-2, 3.09 ERA) punched the padded bench and began to feel discomfort when the team returned home from Milwaukee.
“It’s a shame,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s not the first and he won’t be the last. There’s probably no one who feels any worse than him, too.”
The Mets broke a three-game losing streak Monday and have won eight of their past 11. The Braves have lost two in a row and five of seven.
–Field Level Media