Lagares has partial ligament tear, won't go on DL

Outfielder will wait a few days to see how left thumb feels after swelling goes down

Lagares has partial ligament tear, won't go on DL

PITTSBURGH -- Outfielder Juan Lagares has a partially torn ligament in his left thumb, the Mets announced Monday, but he will attempt to play through the injury. Lagares was scheduled to rejoin the Mets on Monday in Pittsburgh, where their scheduled game against the Pirates was postponed due to rain.

The team will wait two to three days for the swelling to subside in Lagares' thumb before determining if he can indeed play through the injury, or will need additional rest or even surgery. Lagares injured his thumb making a diving catch Saturday in Miami, robbing Ichiro Suzuki of a potential two-run hit that might have cost the Mets a victory. Since that time, Lagares has had issues gripping a bat and squeezing his glove.

"Certainly with the swelling there, he's having trouble," assistant general manager John Ricco said. "When the swelling gets out of there, we have to see what kind of strength we have, and if there's any pain."

In 44 games this season, Lagares is batting .276 with two home runs. The former Gold Glove Award winner starts regularly against left-handed pitchers, hitting them at a .306 clip.

Playing through thumb ligament injuries is not unheard of for hitters. Most prominently in recent history, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia tore a left thumb ligament on Opening Day 2013, and wound up playing in 176 games between the regular season and playoffs. Pedroia had surgery after that season, much as Ricco admitted surgery is likely an inevitability at some point for Lagares.

For now, the Mets will see how much Lagares' pain diminishes as the swelling in his thumb subsides. With the Mets due to face four consecutive right-handed pitchers this weekend in Milwaukee, Lagares probably would not play much anyway, giving the Mets a chance to rest him.

Helping matters is the fact that starting center fielder Yoenis Cespedes appears fully recovered from the right hip soreness that cost him two games out of the starting lineup in Miami this past weekend. The Mets are still playing without Opening Day starters David Wright, Travis d'Arnaud and Lucas Duda, who are all on the disabled list, but hope they have weathered the worst of their recent injury storm.

"It happens from year to year, you get in these periods where you feel like every day you're losing somebody, but that's why you try to build a team with depth," Ricco said. "I think that we've done that. I think it's a challenge every team faces. The teams that end up at the end of the year at the top are the ones that can deal with it the best."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for since 2008. 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.