This Website use Cookies OK

Read more Mets News

Robert Gsellman injury highlights Mets’ sudden shortage of bullpen arms


Losing another reliever to a potentially persistent injury is not something the Mets had planned five days before Opening Day.

Robert Gsellman is experiencing right triceps tightness, skipper Luis Rojas announced on Sunday. The right-hander is playing catch and the Mets are uncertain if he will be available by Friday, when the Amazins host the Braves at Citi Field to kick off the 60-game regular season. 

“We’ll reassess on a day-to-day [basis]” Rojas said. “The performance staff is monitoring his progressions so we … still don’t know for Friday.”

Gsellman joins relievers Brad Brach and Jared Hughes as questionable for Opening Day. Both Brach and Hughes have been absent from Mets camp since their first full-squad workout on July 3 and they were placed on the team’s injury list without any specified injuries. The Mets will not disclose whether a player is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, but after missing more than two weeks of camp, it’s presumed that both players are dealing with non-baseball-related ailments.

All of which leaves the Mets in a bit of trouble with their bullpen arms that were originally locks to start the year. Now a handful of relievers within the system will be competing for open spots in the ‘pen.

Hunter Strickland, the former Nationals righty, signed with the Mets in late June and now looks like an obvious choice to fill the back end of the bullpen. He relieved right-hander Corey Oswalt in the fourth inning of the Mets’ exhibition game against the Yankees on Sunday and retired the side with a pair of strikeouts, including one to DJ LeMahieu, and a pop-up to Aaron Judge.

Strickland said he focused on incorporating sliders into his repertoire during Mets camp, and they certainly fooled the top of the Yankees order. He said the key to his game this year will be trusting his stuff. He registered a 5.55 ERA across 28 relief appearances and 24.1 innings between the Mariners and Nationals last year. 

“As far as opportunity, they haven’t told me anything,” Strickland said. “Come out here and perform. That’s my goal … Obviously there’s a lot of talent here. There’s a lot of good competition, which, I think competition is a good thing. It makes everybody better.”

Drew Smith, Erasmo Ramirez, Tyler Bashlor, Daniel Zamora and Chasen Shreve are among the possibilities to slot into the bullpen. Relievers who are certain to make the 30-man roster, should they remain healthy, include Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, Jeurys Familia, Dellin Betances and Justin Wilson.

The Mets have given Zamora plenty of reps throughout their intrasquad games and, as a left-hander, he would make a solid addition alongside southpaw Wilson. After Smith’s 27 relief appearances in 2018, he underwent Tommy John surgery in spring training of 2019. The 26-year-old, who landed with the Mets in a 2017 trade with the Rays for Lucas Duda, seems like a possibility to make the 30-man roster on Friday. Ramirez has Major League experience, but the veteran seems more likely to be a spot-starter. 

Though the addition of Betances makes the Mets bullpen stronger than it was last year, there are still a ton of question marks and holes remaining. Those around the team hope Diaz and Familia bounce back from their disappointing 2019 seasons, Betances returns to his former self and the combination of Lugo and Wilson continue registering big outs. Suddenly, the returning health of Gsellman, Brach and Hughes are priorities. 

The Mets relief corps has plenty to prove in the abbreviated season.