At the time of the injury, Brandon Nimmo thought he may miss a few days. Then, once his left index finger didn’t feel better immediately, he expected to be back once his 10-day injured list stint was up.
It’s now nearly three weeks later since Nimmo was forced out of the lineup on May 3 after getting jammed on a swing, and a return date remains uncertain — even after getting another MRI exam and receiving second opinions from doctors.
“It’s been extremely frustrating, because obviously when it happened I thought this might be a few days,” the outfielder said before the Mets’ 3-1 loss to the Marlins on Saturday. “And then when a few days went by, it was still around, I went on the 10-day and I thought, ‘OK, I’ll be perfect in 10 days.’ When we came back that very first [rehab] game, it happened again, I was very distraught, because it meant we took a step backwards.”
There, however, is good news. Yes, it is still possible for the injury-riddled Mets to receive positive news on their health front. Nimmo said the bone bruise in his finger, and the irritated nerve in the finger that has bothered him, is improving. He plans to begin swinging soon. Then, as long as the discomfort stays away, he can begin a rehabilitation assignment.
“I’m feeling pretty good right now,” said Nimmo, who is spending the weekend with the Mets in Miami. “I feel like we’re pretty close to getting things going again. So, right now I’m feeling a whole lot better than I was a week ago. Very optimistic about the way things are headed right now.
“That’s the encouraging part, it does feel better than even when I started to come back [the first time]. The only thing is we’re trying to be cautious right now, because we do not want what happened last time to happen again. Obviously I want to be back as soon as I can, but we also cannot risk going on another [rehab] assignment and having it blow up again and set us back again.”
Manager Luis Rojas wasn’t quite as optimistic as Nimmo, saying he wouldn’t begin swinging until he was completely pain-free. Nimmo, though, believes he’s very close to getting to that point.
It’s been a frustrating few weeks for Nimmo. He got off to such a strong start, one of the few Mets regulars who was hitting early on. He was hitting .318/.430/.439 with an .870 OPS. Then he got jammed in a May 3 game against the Phillies. He went on the injured list two days later.
On May 13, Nimmo began a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Syracuse, but the pain returned when he made contact.
“We had to take a break. When I went back for that first game, unfortunately we reaggravated it,” Nimmo said. “I kind of understood that I was going to have to be able to play through some pain, but when we finally got back to the game and game speed, I ended up reaggravating it and the swelling came back, so it unfortunately required more time and more rest, which is no swings. Hopefully getting back to swinging here pretty soon.”
Nimmo is one of a handful of key Mets who are shelved for the time being — a group that includes Michael Conforto, Taijuan Walker, Jeff McNeil, Seth Lugo, Noah Syndergaard, Kevin Pillar and Jacob deGrom, among others. Despite these absences, the Mets have continued to win, going 12-6 in May and leading the NL East by 2 ¹/₂ games over the Phillies. The roster has been littered with call-ups from Syracuse, making the lineup look like a batting order you would see in a spring training road game.
“It’s been really tough watching the IL list pile up. Just like everyone else, I’ve been very sad about that,” Nimmo said. “It’s just like, man, what’s going on with everyone dropping like flies?
“But, ultimately, and this is what we’ve been preaching around the clubhouse, this is going to make us a stronger team.”
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