Mets Notebook: Buck Showalter navigating through his shorthanded bullpen during Drew Smith ban – The Denver Post
HOUSTON — Drew Smith is now more than halfway through his 10-game sticky substance suspension and the Mets have been able to get through it with relative success. It hasn’t been easy playing with one fewer bullpen arm, but some of the starting pitchers are finally starting to go deep into games on a somewhat consistent basis.
Carlos Carrasco blew up Sunday and lasted only three innings, but the Mets still didn’t have to empty their bullpen. Right-hander John Curtiss ate nearly three innings and the Mets sent him to Triple-A the next day and brought up Grant Hartwig to have a fresh arm. An eight-inning start by Max Scherzer and a seven-inning start by Justin Verlander in the first two games of the Houston series helped as well.
With the Mets off Thursday in between two road series against the Astros and Philadelphia Phillies, they may be able to avoid making another roster move. But right now the club is anticipating making one more.
“If we can get to Sunday without making any more moves, then we’ll be lucky,” manager Buck Showalter said prior to Wednesday’s series finale in Houston.
The Mets also sent Tylor Megill down to the bullpen as a just-in-case arm for the second game of the Subway Series. Megill made his scheduled Friday start and started again Wednesday against the Astros. A short outing in Houston could affect whether or not he makes his next start and whether or not the Mets use him as an emergency bullpen arm once again, since his next turn through the rotation wouldn’t come until next week.
“I hope not,” Showalter said. “Hope he pitches successful enough to where we don’t do it. We’re going to try to get through Sunday without getting anybody else.”
The lineup likely won’t change this weekend in Philadelphia
Smith, meanwhile, is at the club’s complex in St. Lucie. He isn’t allowed to pitch at any level higher than the Florida Complex League (rookie). The right-hander is eligible to return Monday when the Mets begin a seven-game homestand against the Milwaukee Brewers.
“It’s very punitive,” Showalter said of the 10-game suspension that comes automatically with an ejection for a foreign substance or excessive rosin use. “It’s one of the most punitive punishments in our sport.”
The Mets are looking forward to some of their pitching depth finally being restored.
Left-hander Jose Quintana could return in the next few weeks with the team hoping to get him back before the All-Star break. He made a rehab start Sunday with High-A St. Lucie and is penciled in for another this week, likely Friday with another affiliate.
Right-hander Sam Coonrod (torn lat), who the Mets had initially projected to make the Opening Day roster, won’t be back until August, but right-hander Stephen Ridings (shoulder impingement) recently joined Triple-A Syracuse on a rehab assignment.
“If you look at him, you look at his track record when he’s healthy and on the field, you see why he keeps getting chances,” Showalter said. “You’re always hoping that you’re the one holding them when health is not a factor anymore. It’s not much of a question that he can pitch effectively at this level with the stuff he has.
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