Jed Lowrie will open the season where he’s spent most of his time with Mets: on the injured list.
The team announced the move Monday, calling the injury “left knee discomfort.”
He will see team physician David Altcheck this week to “find out the next step,’’ according to manager Luis Rojas.
When pressed, Rojas did not rule out the possibility of surgery: “I can’t say. That’s something we’ll reassess when we hear from the doctor.”
Lowrie, who arrived before last season on a two-year contract worth $20 million, appeared in just nine games in 2019 because of assorted injuries. He has been wearing a substantial left leg brace in camp, but has declined to specify the nature of his injury.
So far, surgery has not been on the table for the 36-year-old.
“Our approach has been rehab,’’ Rojas said before the Mets played an intrasquad game at Citi Field. “He’s worked really hard. I can’t say that enough. He’s worked hard to play in games and blend in with the group. That’s all I’ve witnessed here.”
He won’t be witnessing Lowrie doing much of anything else for the near future.
Less than two weeks ago, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen and Rojas were encouraged by some of what Lowrie was able to do, especially at the plate. And Rojas even hinted at the possibility of Lowrie playing third base at some point during the 60-game schedule.
Lowrie has been limited in what he can do running the bases and in the field, which is no surprise given the bulky brace that has become his trademark since coming to Queens.
“From a competitive standpoint, it’s just not where we want it,’’ Rojas said of Lowrie’s knee. “We saw his bat and his ability. Just the running part and parts of his defense and range to make some plays, that was the part we couldn’t translate into a vision of him playing in games.”
Perhaps the visit to Altcheck will provide some clarity, but Rojas said it was a difficult process for Lowrie.
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“It can be tough, especially for someone considered a gamer, someone who plays the game really hard,’’ Rojas said. “Guys like that are gonna go sometimes through some injuries like this. It’s unfortunate.”
And what, exactly, are the Mets hoping to learn?
“We want to know and we want to see what comes out of it,’’ Rojas said. “He just came to camp to be part of this team. This is a part of the progression — going into a game, the transition with his brace. There [are] some things we didn’t think were gonna be game-speed from a competitive standpoint. We want him to be seen [by the doctor]. Then we’ll know what the next step is.”
Earlier this month, Lowrie called the situation “frustrating.”
“Obviously, it hasn’t gone as expected,” Lowrie said at the time. “But listen, I’m going to focus on whatever I can do and whatever they can ask me to do, because we have this 60-game sprint. … My hope is that as I continue to do these strengthening exercises, I can increase that workload. But we’ll kind of have to play that day by day, see how it reacts, see how the treatment is helping.”
It’s unclear what role Lowrie would play even if healthy, with Jeff McNeil at third and Robinson Cano at second. Serving as an occasional DH might be an option, but the Mets want to rotate players at that position, and there’s no telling how often Yoenis Cespedes will be able to play the outfield after undergoing multiple foot surgeries.
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