NEW YORK -- Terry Collins jogged after Asdrubal Cabrera as the Mets shortstop came off the field Monday afternoon, seeking an update on his injured left thumb. "Bueno," Cabrera said to Collins as the two descended into the Mets' clubhouse tunnel.
Whatever else Cabrera told his manager was enough to convince the team not to place him on the disabled list. Participating in hitting and fielding drills at Citi Field, Cabrera did enough for the Mets to feel comfortable carrying him as a bench player until his sprained thumb heals. The Mets plan to use Cabrera, who has also battled leg soreness for much of the season, off the bench until he is healthy enough to return to the starting lineup.
To that end, Cabrera came to the plate with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning of a tie game Monday, hitting into a 6-4-3 double play. The Mets hope he can be more productive in days to come, in spite of his injury.
"That's a pretty nice piece to have on the bench right now," Collins said. "If this guy can ... get a few days off to where he can let those legs heal up a little bit, but you've still got that bat on the bench, it becomes big -- especially when you have a four-man bench. You've got a switch-hitter who can walk up there and do some damage."
The risk is that Cabrera might aggravate his thumb injury, or overcompensate and injure something else, as Yoenis Cespedes and Noah Syndergaard did last month. By the time Syndergaard hit the DL, the Mets' history of injury relapses had grown lengthy enough for general manager Sandy Alderson to hold a 15-minute news conference defending the team's medical practices. But in this instance, Collins said, doctors assured the Mets that Cabrera could do no further damage to his thumb.
"That was brought up," Collins said. "The doctors say he can't, by sliding or anything else, do any more damage to it. The swelling's way down."
In 28 games, Cabrera is hitting .260 with three home runs. The Mets plan to use Jose Reyes at shortstop in his absence, with Wilmer Flores playing third base.
Earlier Monday, the Mets flew infield prospect Gavin Cecchini to New York in case they would need to place Cabrera on the DL. But the Mets never activated Cecchini, leaving him with nothing more than a batch of frequent-flyer miles.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com 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.