BALTIMORE — The Mets are taking it slow with reintroducing Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte back into the everyday lineup, and that’s something that will likely become a trend the rest of the way, as the team plays out the string.
Buck Showalter said before Sunday’s game against the Orioles — a game in which both Nimmo and Marte were held out of the starting lineup — the Mets would be cautious with players returning to action, saying the fact they are out of the playoff race “would be a tiebreaker” when it comes to whether someone plays.
The team decided against starting Nimmo three straight days — especially a day game after a night game — as he deals with a tight quad and planned to give Marte on Sunday off when they mapped out his schedule following his return after dealing with migraines.
Marte is hitless in eight at-bats with three strikeouts since his return.
Nimmo, Showalter said, “is improving” and moved better in Saturday’s game than on Friday.
Nimmo pinch-hit and flied out to left in the ninth inning of the 2-0 loss at Camden Yards.
“We’re still obviously a better team with those guys playing,” Showalter said.
Showalter said the potential returns of bench players Luis Guillorme (calf) and Tim Locastro (thumb) will help the roster depth, as well as the expansion of the roster to 28 players next month.
Showalter said general manager Billy Eppler has been with the Double-A Binghamton team, where Eppler said he’d be spending some time — as well as Triple-A Syracuse — following the trade deadline to look at their newly arrived prospects acquired in deadline deals.
Francisco Alvarez got the day off, but Showalter still took time to praise the rookie catcher, comparing him to Baltimore’s emerging star behind the plate, Adley Rutschman.
“I like to remind people that I love Rutschman and he’s a good-looking player, but he’s four years older than [Alvarez],” Showalter said. “Keep that in mind. Frankie is still growing.”
Rutschman is 25 and in his second full year in the majors, with 14 homers and an OPS of .797, while the 21-year-old Alvarez is still a rookie and has 21 home runs and a .791 OPS.
Just how bad was the just-concluded road trip to Kansas City and Baltimore?
It was their first winless trip of six or more games since they also went 0-6 from May 12-17, 2017.
The Mets have also dropped seven straight games away from Citi Field, where they return to open a homestand against the Cubs on Monday.