The Mets’ starting rotation issues grew worse after a surprising move on Saturday.
Already without much depth, they lost improving southpaw Joey Lucchesi to the injured list after their 5-1 win over the Nationals in Game 1 of a doubleheader. The Mets activated outfielder Albert Almora Jr. to take his place on the roster.
Lucchesi, who has pitched so well of late after a slow start, was shelved because of left elbow inflammation after throwing 5¹/₃ shutout innings Friday night in a 1-0 loss. He is 1-4 with a 4.46 ERA over 38 ¹/₃ innings this season.
The Mets are still not sure who will pitch Monday’s doubleheader against the Braves. Jacob deGrom, who has been lifted early from his previous two starts because of minor health ailments, said Saturday he planned to take the ball in one of the games as long as he continues to feel good physically, but the Mets are taking a day-to-day approach with their ace. He only lasted three innings in his last start on Wednesday due to right shoulder soreness.
Making matters worse, the Mets are in the midst of playing 16 games in 13 days against NL East foes, including doubleheaders Saturday, Monday and next Friday. Reliever Robert Gsellman started Game 2 on Saturday against Washington.
The Mets could go with Gsellman, who was once a starter, in Lucchesi’s spot moving forward. Other options include prospect Thomas Szapucki and veteran Jerad Eickhoff. Neither, however, has pitched overly well for Triple-A Syracuse.
Carlos Carrasco has yet to pitch for the Mets this year after coming over in the Francisco Lindor trade with the Indians because of a torn hamstring, and while he is throwing, a return for the right-hander is believed to be a ways off.