The Mets continue to be plagued by the injury bug — and hit by pitches — after star outfielder Starling Marte was beaned in the head by Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Elvin Rodriguez’s 93 mph fastball on Sunday.
Marte immediately left the game and underwent concussion testing — which came back negative — and after a reevaluation on Monday, the 34-year-old appears to be in the clear.
“He slept through the night, got woken up a few times, but he seems fine today,” manager Buck Showalter said on Monday. “I got a nice call from their manager last night. I appreciated that.”
Sunday was just the third day Marte was competing with the Mets during their exhibition slate. He made his spring training debut on Friday after fully recovering from offseason groin surgery that initially cast some doubt over his availability to be ready for Opening Day.
Marte enjoyed an All-Star campaign during his first season with the Mets in 2022, batting .292 with an .814 OPS, 16 home runs, 63 RBI, and 18 stolen bases. However, his year was limited to just 118 games — mostly due to a fractured finger suffered when he was hit on the hand by a Mitch Keller fastball on Sept. 6.
During his absence down the stretch, the Mets went 16-11 and ultimately coughed up the NL East division lead to the Atlanta Braves during the final week of the season.
While he managed to return for the team’s Wild Card Series against the San Diego Padres, the veteran was playing in ceaseless pain.
It appears as though the Mets’ outfield depth is in better standing than it was last season, at least suggesting there is more insurance should injury issues persist for Marte. They brought Tommy Pham on as a fourth-outfielder option and Tim Locastro, who was brought in on a minor-league deal this winter, is batting .370 across 12 games this spring.