Knee continues to be a problem for Cuddyer

Knee continues to be a problem for Cuddyer

WASHINGTON -- Dealing with a balky left knee for most of July, outfielder Michael Cuddyer received a new type of anti-inflammatory medication on Monday but was held out of the starting lineup for the series opener at Nationals Park, and the Mets hope to decide as soon as Tuesday if he can avoid the disabled list.

"I didn't want to have to start him and then take him out in the third or fourth," manager Terry Collins said of his decision to sit Cuddyer, who was available to pinch-hit. "He's still pretty tender."

Cuddyer, 36, felt a twinge in the knee during a June 30 game at Citi Field. He sat out of the lineup for four straight games after that before starting six of the next 10. Though he was productive during that stretch, batting .346 with two home runs, his knee often bothered him toward the end of games. During the Mets' 18-inning win over the Cardinals on Sunday, the discomfort reached a point where he could not continue.

The Mets are hesitant to put Cuddyer on the DL because team doctors have indicated that he cannot further damage the knee by playing on it, but they may ultimately have no choice.

But even if that becomes a reality, the Mets have no plans to promote No. 3 prospect Michael Conforto from Double-A Binghamton, where he won Player of the Week honors last week by batting .438 with a double, a triple and two home runs. Though the looming non-waiver Trade Deadline could change things, Collins is looking only to Triple-A Las Vegas for outfield help, though little exists.

Collins mentioned former 18th-round pick Travis Taijeron as one option, though Kirk Nieuwenhuis is likely to receive the bulk of Cuddyer's at-bats if Cuddyer misses significant time.

Last week, at the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, Conforto said he's ready for a big league promotion, but added, "It's not my call."

"All I can do is just prepare myself, and show up in [Double-A] Binghamton or wherever I'm at and show up with the right attitude and the right work ethic," Conforto said. "My play on the field will speak for itself."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.