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Jeff McNeil leaves game in 9th inning with hamstring tightness, will have MRI on Wednesday


ATLANTA – The last thing the Mets want in their surging push for an NL Wild Card spot is an injury to their best hitter.

Jeff McNeil came up lame and grabbed his left hamstring after running out a grounder in the ninth inning of the Mets’ 5-3 loss to the Braves on Tuesday night. McNeil is scheduled to receive an MRI on his ailing hamstring on Wednesday morning in Atlanta. Until then, he is hoping the pain is just a cramp.

McNeil was noticeably dejected in both tone and demeanor as he described his tight hamstring.

"It didn’t feel great,” McNeil said. “I don’t think it’s terrible. We have no timeline. I guess we’ll see how it feels in the morning.”

The injury happened when McNeil jammed his right foot into first base and stumbled over the bag, planting all of his weight onto his left leg. He immediately grimaced, limped off the field with the help of a Mets trainer, and gingerly walked into the clubhouse.

“As I got closer to the bag, I think maybe one of the reasons I reached was so I didn’t have to step on that leg,” McNeil said. “But it wasn’t terrible. It was just a little snag.”

The 27-year-old spent nearly two weeks on the injured list this season with a left hamstring strain he suffered at the end of May. McNeil said the pain he experienced on Tuesday is different from the one that sidelined him for a dozen games.

McNeil iced his left hamstring after he left the game. Due to the numbness of his leg, he was unable to clarify whether the pain he was feeling was worse than his last trip to the IL.

McNeil is making a push for the NL batting title with the second-best batting average (.332) in the big leagues, trailing only Christian Yelich. He went 1-for-5 with an RBI single in Tuesday’s loss that dropped the Mets two games out of a Wild-Card spot behind the Brewers and Cardinals. The Nationals beat the Reds on Tuesday to hold onto the first Wild-Card berth. The Mets have won 15 of their last 18 games.

Jeff McNeil left the game in the ninth Tuesday night because of hamstring tightness.
Jeff McNeil left the game in the ninth Tuesday night because of hamstring tightness. (John Bazemore/AP)

"It sucks,” McNeil said on his level of disappointment. “The team is playing well. I just want to contribute. Hopefully this is something real short and I can get back on the field.”

"It’s tough. He’s a huge part of this team,” Zack Wheeler said, who took the loss Tuesday after giving up five earned runs to the Braves. “He brings a fire every day to the field. He’s a ballplayer. You need those types of guys on your team, you need them in your lineup. It’s unfortunate that that happened. Hopefully it’s not too serious and he can get back decently quick. We’ll need his bat, that’s for sure.”