OAKLAND — The Mets’ pitching staff took another hit Saturday when right-hander Stephen Nogosek was placed on the 15-day injured list with a bone bruise on his right elbow. However, the club is confident that reinforcements are on the way.
A series of roster moves were made Saturday morning ahead of the second game of a three-game series against the Oakland A’s. The club designated right-hander Dennis Santana for assignment and brought up right-handers Jimmy Yacabonis and José Butto from Triple-A Syracuse.
In addition, ace Justin Verlander (teres major strain in right shoulder) came out of his side sessions well in Florida, and right-hander Tommy Hunter (back spasms) is set to come off the injured list April 19.
“We have Tommy not too far away, it looks like he’s going to make it,” Showalter said. “Justin’s work day went really well today, so that’s good.”
Butto has not pitched since April 9, so the Mets could use him out of the bullpen as the long man in place of Nogosek, or they could have him make a spot start this week to give the rest of the staff an extra day of rest.
“Potentially, but not committed to it yet,” Showalter said of the possibility of Butto making a start in California. “We’ll see how today goes. Like we’ve said, we’re not going to put our bullpen, on this road trip or any time, in harm’s way.”
Eliminating the possibility of harm from the bullpen might mean having Butto start instead of using him as the long man.
“There are two parts to that: One, you have the ability to pitch length; but two, can you do it?” Showalter said. “You saw [Oakland] last night had a guy who had the ability to pitch length, at least inning-wise, but you still have to execute it.”
Nogosek was hit on the elbow with a line drive Friday night in the 17-6 win at RingCentral Coliseum. He was X-rayed Friday night and they were negative for any sort of fracture or break, and there was no structural damage to the joint found either.
He was hit so hard that Showalter found seam marks on his elbow. No member of the starting staff has been able to throw seven innings yet and the bullpen has had to absorb the workload. Nogosek absorbed a good amount of it, having pitched 6.1 innings over three games.
“We’re hoping Nogo will manage this well,” Showalter said. “We got lucky. Really lucky. When I got off the mound, the seams were right on his elbow. But I think we may have dodged one there. We’ll try to get that completely managed and make use of the IL time.”
The dilapidated Coliseum has been known for its plumbing leaks, rodent infestations and “Mount Davis,” the infamously massive section of seats closed off during the regular season that was installed in the 1990s by the late Al Davis.
But the Mets found another problem Friday night when the heater in the visitor’s dugout malfunctioned. The unit stopped working and the stadium operators took it away, leaving the Mets in the cold for the rest of the game.
“That was a two hand-warmer kind of night,” Showalter said.