Lagares scratched from lineup due to left thumb

Mets outfielder aggravates injury hitting in batting cage Wednesday afternoon

Lagares scratched from lineup due to left thumb

NEW YORK -- Already shorthanded, the Mets scratched outfielder Juan Lagares about an hour prior to Wednesday's first pitch due to left thumb discomfort. The former Gold Glove Award winner partially tore a tendon in that thumb making a diving catch June 4 in Miami, then aggravated it in an indoor batting cage Wednesday afternoon.

"His hand got real, real sore and real stiff, and he couldn't close his hand," manager Terry Collins said after the Mets' 11-2 win over the Pirates.

Lagares will undergo further examination on Thursday morning, at which point the Mets will determine if they must place him on the disabled list. Even if Lagares can overcome this setback in a few days, it could become a baseball-operations decision for a team already proceeding with injured players Michael Conforto and Neil Walker both on the active roster. The Mets hope Walker, at least, can be back Thursday.

Lagares, 27, has been playing through a sore thumb ever since injuring it June 4. He is hitting .289 with two home runs in 48 games, serving exclusively as a defensive replacement and pinch-hitter since hurting the thumb.

Shortly after his first examination, Lagares said he hoped to avoid surgery altogether. He offered less optimism following Wednesday night's game, despite having full range of motion with his thumb.

"I don't know what's going to happen," Lagares said. "I just want to be ready. I don't want to play if I'm not 100 percent."

If the Mets do need to disable Lagares, their most intriguing option at Triple-A Las Vegas is 2011 first-round Draft pick Brandon Nimmo, who is batting .330 with a .940 OPS in 53 games. General manager Sandy Alderson offered a tepid endorsement of Nimmo earlier this week, lauding his increased aggression at the plate without committing to a future callup.

"He's getting there," Alderson said. "He's been great the last two, three weeks, and so I think that he has put himself in a position to be considered. We'll just have to see how he continues to perform as we monitor what's going on at the Major League level. But certainly he's put himself in a position for consideration.

Other outfielders in Las Vegas include Roger Bernadina and Travis Taijeron. Bernadina and Taijeron are not on New York's 40-man roster, while Nimmo is. Therefore, promoting Nimmo would not force the Mets to make any other 40-man adjustments and gives him a clearer path from a procedural standpoint.

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.