The New York Mets have been unable to hammer down a cemented timeframe for All-Star Starling Marte’s return from a fractured finger, but the wait is only going to continue.
Manager Buck Showalter revealed on Wednesday before his team’s series finale against the Miami Marlins that the veteran right fielder’s fractured finger is still in a splint and recently received an injection. He is still unable to throw or hit and his return is “not imminent.”
“He’s healing slowly but surely but you can’t make the imaging show something that’s not [there],” Showalter said. “There’s nothing definitive at this point. You’re waiting for the pain and discomfort and all to work out. I know it’s really frustrating for him.”
It’s quite clear at this point that he’ll miss the Mets’ must-win series against the Atlanta Braves, providing a sizable hole in the lineup with the National League East title on the line. The beginning of the postseason also appears to be in jeopardy as well.
Marte earned his first All-Star Game nod since 2016 this season, his first with the Mets, as he’s batted .292 with an .814 OPS to go with 16 home runs and 63 RBI in 2022. His presence had provided Showalter’s nine with another legitimate threat toward the top of the order alongside Brandon Nimmo and Francisco Lindor to create one of the more well-rounded offenses in the game when healthy.
Since he suffered the injury on Sept. 6 against the Pittsburgh Pirates when he was hit by a Mitch Keller pitch, the Mets have gone 12-8 against a particularly soft part of their schedule — which hasn’t been good enough to keep their lead atop the division ahead of the surging Braves.
Tyler Naquin has recently received a lion’s share of the reps in right field ahead of the slumping Darin Ruf, but he’s batting just .231 in 43 games since being acquired by the Mets from the Cincinnati Reds. The ever-versatile Jeff McNeil will continue to be New York’s best hitting option to get occasional playing time in right, though it would prompt Showalter to play Luis Guillorme at second.