4/16/2014 1:26 A.M. ET
Mejia exits start due to blister on middle finger
By Anthony DiComo / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Mets starter Jenrry Mejia left Tuesday's 9-0 win against the D-backs after five innings with what manager Terry Collins termed "a hell of a blister" on his right middle finger, but he expects to make his next start.
Mejia, who has pitched through multiple minor ailments -- most notably a bunion on his right foot -- since the end of Spring Training, was enjoying a nine-run lead and his best outing of the season before the blister burst, forcing him to leave after 77 pitches.
"He tore it up completely," Collins said. "His middle finger completely ripped open. I would say it's a concern."
Mejia indicated that the problem first arose during his last start in Atlanta, but that he kept pitching without major issue. He felt the blister again while warming up before Tuesday's start, but it did not burst until the fourth inning.
Add that to a growing list of maladies for Mejia so far this season, including his bunion and a comebacker that struck his right ankle during an exhibition game in Montreal. Though Mejia has managed to avoid the major shoulder and elbow issues that once derailed his career, minor ailments have affected him throughout the young season.
"It's a little bit frustrating because I want to keep pitching," Mejia said. "But there's nothing I can do. It happened."
Mejia did not allow a run in five innings against the D-backs, lowering his ERA to 2.81. If he is unable to make his next start, Daisuke Matsuzaka -- whom Mejia beat out for a rotation spot this spring -- is pitching well at Triple-A Las Vegas, with a 2.25 ERA in two outings. The Mets could also easily slide reliever Carlos Torres into the rotation for a spot start.
But Mejia showed off his blister after the game without concern, saying he is confident the Mets' training staff will have him back in game shape before next Monday.
"I don't worry because the trainer's going to work on it, and I'm going to work on it, and I think I'll be ready for my next start," Mejia said.
Lagares to 15-day DL; Granderson day to day
PHOENIX -- Juan Lagares' sensational start to the season is on hold.
The Mets placed Lagares on the disabled list Tuesday, a day after he strained his right hamstring running out a ground ball. To take Lagares' spot, the Mets recalled outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis from Triple-A Las Vegas and immediately inserted him into their starting lineup, playing center field against the D-backs.
The club did not have to DL Curtis Granderson, who is day to day with general soreness after crashing into Chase Field's right-field wall.
"That's the game," Nieuwenhuis said. "It stinks that Juan goes down, [Granderson] gets hurt, but that's the game. That's probably the worst part of the game is injuries happen, and you've got to keep going as a team."
The Mets waited until less than an hour before Tuesday's first pitch to make the DL move official, subjecting Lagares to further medical tests including an MRI. The MRI revealed the strain.
More fortunate than Lagares was Granderson, who avoided the DL after crashing into Chase Field's fence. Though still too sore to play in Tuesday's game against the D-backs, Granderson said he might be available to pinch-hit, and he could return to the starting lineup as soon as Wednesday.
But with a matinee scheduled Wednesday and an off-day after that, a more conservative approach would net Granderson three full days of rest prior to Friday's series opener against the Braves at Citi Field.
"I was surprised when I got up [Tuesday] -- even walking around was a lot better than I thought it was going to be," said Granderson, who is batting .170 with one home run in 13 games. "And then as I continued to warm up and go through treatment and all that good stuff, things are feeling a lot better."
Nieuwenhuis, 26, was batting .310 with two homers and eight RBIs in 10 games at Vegas. He has appeared in 138 career games with the Mets, hitting .236 with a .672 OPS.
Nieuwenhuis will replace Lagares, 25, who was the Mets' best player over the season's first two weeks -- batting .314 with an .816 OPS and a team-high seven RBIs, all while playing his usual Gold Glove-caliber defense in center. Lagares had never previously suffered a hamstring strain before feeling something pull on his way to first base in the seventh inning Monday.
Manager Terry Collins spoke Tuesday of the difficulty in replacing Lagares, though the Mets are confident Nieuwenhuis can do the job on a short-term basis. Lucas Duda made an appearance in left field Monday after both Granderson and Lagares suffered their injuries, but the Mets do not wish to use Duda at an unnatural position if they do not have to.
"We've seen in the past where I thought his offense has struggled a little bit because he's so concerned about playing left field or playing right field," Collins said. "He's so comfortable at first."
Granderson pays tribute to Robinson on cleats
PHOENIX -- Curtis Granderson proudly showed off the pair of cleats he had custom made for Tuesday's Jackie Robinson Day celebration at Chase Field -- black with white trim and the words "Thank You Jackie" printed on the back. As he has in previous years, Granderson plans to auction off the cleats, with proceeds going to the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
"It's awesome to get a chance to do it," said Granderson, who sat out Tuesday's game due to injury but wore the cleats on the dugout bench. "Not only people of African-American color, but people of color all over the world get a chance to play this great game of baseball because of the things that he did … to make this game as diverse as it is today."
Granderson, like every player throughout the Majors, also wore Robinson's retired uniform No. 42 on the 67th anniversary of his breaking baseball's color barrier.
After fellow Mets outfielder Eric Young first wore No. 42 in a previous season with the Rockies, he framed the jersey and hung it on a wall in his house. Young, who was still with Colorado for last year's Jackie Robinson Day festivities, hopes to do the same with his new Mets jersey.
"It's huge just having the opportunity to wear it today in a big league game, in a big league stadium," Young said. "Obviously before Jackie, I wouldn't have had this opportunity. So for a player like me, it's tremendous."