NEW YORK — Don’t look now, but the Mets are getting close to challenging the Yankees for the most players on the injured list.The Mets placed two starters – Robinson Cano and Jeff McNeil – on the 10-day IL before Thursday’s matinee against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. With 11 players now sidelined, the Mets are in Yankee territory.The Cano deactivation was expected after he pulled up after straining his quad early in Wednesday night’s comeback win over the Nationals. At least he was hustling. In the aftermath of him not running hard – or running at all – twice in the Miami series, Cano was trying to beat out an infield hit.McNeil going on the IL was more surprising to Mets’ watchers. He thinks he suffered tightness in his hamstring Tuesday night when he stole second base in the ninth inning. When the condition hadn’t improved, he went on the injured list Thursday morning.“The tightness is still there,” McNeil said. “I’m going to get treatment and hope for the best.”But he isn't second guessing the move. “I tried to play through an injury once and ended up tearing my hamstring,” said McNeil.Although Adeiny Hechavarria, who replaced Cano when he left Wednesday night’s game, started in the series finale Thursday against the Nationals, manager Mickey Callaway said others would play in Cano’s absence. “We’ll go day-by-day,” he said.As for the outfield, Callaway’s hands are really tied. With McNeil joining Michael Conforto (concussion) and Brandon Nimmo (stiff neck) on the IL, the Mets are shorthanded. Conforto is eligible to be activated on Friday, but is still waiting for medical approval.
That means Juan Lagares makes all or at least most of the starts in center field, surrounded by the likes of Rajai Davis and Carlos Gomez, two veterans recalled from the minors in the last week, and maybe even Dominic Smith, who’s buried behind homer hitting Pete Alonso at first base. Even with the lack of outfielders, the Mets chose to recall reliever Ryan O’Rourke from Class AAA Syracuse to take McNeil’s roster spot.Callaway is putting up a brave front, citing the contributions made by the pick-ups in the first three games of the Nationals series, all won by his team.“The guys aren’t giving up,” he said. “You have to give our guys credit. The depth is stepping up.”
Weekend pitching probables
Noah Syndergaard (3-4, 4.50) will be matched against left-hander Gregory Soto (0-2, 10.80) Friday night when the Mets host Detroit in a weekend series.The Tigers haven’t announced a starter for Saturday, when the Mets expect Jason Vargas (1-2, 5.92) to come off the IL. Sunday’s matchup is Detroit right-hander Spencer Turnbull (2-3, 2.68) versus Zack Wheeler (3-3, 4.74).
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Mets outfielder Rajai Davis took a strange journey on Wednesday. Justin Toscano, Staff Writer