Brandon Nimmo shakes off injury scare to stay hot for Mets

Brandon Nimmo Mets
New York Mets’ Brandon Nimmo (9) celebrates with Francisco Lindor (12) and other teammates after scoring a game-winning two-run home run during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Sunday, May 12, 2024, in New York. The Mets won 4-3. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

It looked as though the only thing that could have slowed Brandon Nimmo down — an injury — came to fruition over the weekend.

The New York Mets’ veteran left fielder left Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves after tweaking his right side while trying to hold up a check swing during the third inning.

After being pulled from the game, he was initially given Sunday’s series finale against the Braves off after imploring that an IL stint was likely avoided. But trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning, manager Carlos Mendoza turned to his hottest hitter, who came in as a pinch runner for DJ Stewart in the seventh inning — even if he was not at 100%.

“Initially [Mendoza] said ‘I’m not using you today,’ but then I said ‘Come watch me hit in the cage,'” Nimmo began. “He came and watched me hit and he said ‘Hmm, it looks like you’re moving pretty well.’ I said I feel good, so let’s have a conversation… I said, if you need me, let’s do it.”

He worked the count full and on the sixth pitch of his at-bat against Atlanta reliever Bryce Elder, deposited his sixth home run of the season over the left-center-field fence to walk the Mets off and avoid a sweep at the hands of their NL East rivals. 

“I feel good, I don’t really feel anything right now,” Nimmo said referencing his tweaked side. “I’m coming off the adrenaline high. I didn’t feel anything for that at-bat… I’m really happy that everything worked out well so that this moment could happen.”

New York Mets’ Brandon Nimmo (9) signals to fans after scoring a game-winning two-run home run during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Sunday, May 12, 2024, in New York. The Mets won 4-3. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

After a slow start to the 2024 season, Nimmo is coming rounding into form and the avoidance of a major injury helps keep things on track. Across his previous 12 games, he is slashing .316/.435/.711 (1.145 OPS) with four home runs, 10 RBI, and six walks. 

Had it not been for the abundance of caution to lift him from Saturday’s game early, Nimmo’s status could be in a much different place right now.

“I was trying to do as much as I could to just get past it and move on in the at-bat, but it felt good for the most part,” Nimmo told reporters after Saturday’s game (h/t SNY). “It was just more so knowing that it was a cold day and in one half-inning of being out in the outfield it had started to tighten up a little bit and not wanting to exert it more in the cage but also needing to keep it warm for the next at-bat, and so that’s kind of where we came to the decision of let’s play it more safe.

“But yes I did take two more swings and was able to finish the at-bat and that gives me a lot of confidence moving forward.”

Brandon NImmo injury Mets
Brandon Nimmo being checked out by team trainers after suffering an intercostal injury on Saturday, May 11 vs. Atlanta (Lloyd Mitchell/AMNY)

The team labeled it as intercostal irritation and Mendoza initially projected this as a “day-to-day” issue. Nimmo also transmitted confidence that this would not land him on the injured list.

“I don’t think it’s IL,” Nimmo said. “I’m hopeful that [Sunady] I will be good to go. I have 24 hours to recover which is a lot in baseball and I am hopeful for tomorrow. If it’s not I don’t expect it to be much longer than that.”

Intercostal injuries, which occur between the ribs, are tricky to navigate and if aggravated, could land Nimmo on the shelf for an extended period of time — as long as two months. 

“My worry was just knowing where it was at, that if I had to check up and if I did more then we’re talking something more like six to eight weeks rather than one or two days,” Nimmo said. “…If it does get worse then we’re talking something much more serious so we decided to play on the safer side.”

For more on Brandon Nimmo and the Mets, visit AMNY.com