JD Martinez update: Mets DH ‘very unlikely’ to join team on West Coast swing

JD Martinez Mets rumors
JD Martinez (Flickr)

QUEENS, N.Y. — JD Martinez’s long-awaited Mets debut will have to wait a bit longer. 

Mets manager Carlos Mendoza and president of baseball operations said that it is “very unlikely,” that the 36-year-old slugger will travel with the team for their west-coast road trip to Los Angeles and San Francisco, which extends to April 24.

“My expectation is [he will make his debut] shortly thereafter if not on the trip,” Stearns said. “I don’t think he needs to show anything, he just needs to get into a spot where he says ‘I’m good to go. I feel good and I’m ready.'”

Martinez was going through an abbreviated spring training and was starting a minor-league rehab assignment when he encountered lower-back stiffness last week. He received an injection to the area during a brief shutdown and began swinging a bat on Monday. 

“We’ll see where we’re at but in reality, I think [his debut will come] when we get back,” Mendoza said. “It’s just where he’s at right now. He has to go through BP… before he goes back into a few games.”

JD Martinez Mets
JD Martinez (Screenshot)

Martinez did not sign his one-year, $12 million deal with the Mets until a week before the 2024 season began, which immediately slated him for a late start to the year as he ramped up. He was coming off an All-Star season with the Los Angeles Dodgers in which he slashed .271/.321/.572 (.893 OPS) with 33 home runs and 103 RBI but he also dealt with similar back stiffness, which has been commonplace at times throughout his career.

“We talked to his representation plenty and JD did a very nice job of keeping himself in shape during the downtime before he signed,” Stearns said. “I think as he’s gotten going, he ran into the same level of back stiffness that plagued him over a couple different points in his career. He was pretty confident with the way the Dodgers treated it last year really helped him out… so we opted to treat it the same way.”

That treatment consists of that injection, which Stearns said made Martinez “feel really good.”

“We didn’t have a defined time frame,” Stearns continued. “I certainly think if he didn’t have this back stiffness, he’d be here already. So the back stiffness probably delayed this a little bit. I think JD wants to get out there as quickly as possible… I’m cognizant that this is something that has popped up for him over the course of his career and we’ll knock it out and get him going.”

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