The Mets didn’t even make it through two full games before losing a key contributor to injury.
Right-handed reliever Anthony Swarzak left the Mets’ 6-2 win over the Cardinals Saturday at Citi Field with what the team called a sore left oblique. Swarzak, who signed a two-year, $14 million deal with the Mets this offseason, felt pain in his left side after throwing a pitch early in the eighth inning.
Swarzak tried to battle through the discomfort, but after surrendering a home run to Matt Carpenter and walking Jose Martinez, he called manager Mickey Callaway and trainer Brian Chicklo onto the field. Swarzak was then pulled from the game in favor of closer Jeurys Familia, who pitched the final 1.1 innings for his first save of 2018. Callaway said Swarzak is “day-to-day.”
“I can’t do that to the team,” Swarzak said of the home run and walk he allowed. “It was time to call someone out there and get a (new) pitcher in there.”
Swarza said after the game that he did not have an MRI scheduled. The 32-year-old also dealt with a calf injury during spring training.
“I’ve never felt anything like this in my side before,” Swarzak said. “I haven’t really been an injury-prone kind of person. So between the calf thing in spring training and now this, I’m just trying to take it one day at a time and see how I feel.”
Consider it the Mets injury curse.
“I got to start wearing some green and some lucky charms around here or something,” Swarzak joked. “I don’t know. You can’t really put a finger on that. I know I work hard. I take care of my body, and I’m constantly hydrating. It just seems like a couple little fluke things.”
Swarzak had pitched admirably before suffering the injury. He retired both batters he faced in the seventh inning to the get the Mets out of a second-and-third, one-out jam. Then he struck out Tommy Pham to lead off the eighth. Swarzak said he felt the pain either on the last pitch to Pham or the first pitch to Carpenter, who hit after Pham.
“Everything was fine. Everything was normal. I was doing my normal thing. I felt great,” Swarzak said. “And then I threw one pitch that didn’t feel so good. But we’ll see. We’ll see what happens. I’m going to be optimistic. I’m not panicking at this point. We got to see what’s going on. But hopefully I feel better tomorrow and this is just a little scare.”
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Third baseman Todd Frazier took a fastball off his hand in the fifth inning. But he stayed in the game and said afterward that he’s “fine.”
“It kind of got both the hand and the bat,” Frazier said, “and luckily I’ll be all right.”
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Before Saturday’s win, the Mets debuted jersey patches that will honor the legendary Rusty Staub, who died on Opening Day at the age of 74. The patches are black and feature Staub’s signature in orange. The Mets will wear them on both their home and away uniforms for the whole season.
The team also hung up one of the Staub’s No. 10 Mets jerseys in the dugout during Saturday’s victory.