Carlos Carrasco Diagnosed With Low-Grade Oblique Strain

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The Mets announced that starter Carlos Carrasco has been diagnosed with a low-grade strain of his left hypotenuse. The team added that recovery of a species of this nature typically takes three to four weeks.

It’s not unexpected news after the right-hander had to undergo an MRI this morning. Carrasco left the start against the Braves last night after two innings with his side hurt, immediately raising the possibility of an oblique problem. It’s certainly not ideal that he should be on the injured list and could miss about a month of action, but the club are also lucky to have avoided a more serious strain that would have affected his availability for the post-season.

Carrasco started last night’s game and made it to one inning before forcing another 55-minute delay. Despite the long hiatus, the 35-year-old stayed in the game and threw himself into the facility while waiting for the rain to settle. That Carrasco was uncomfortable within an inning after coming back on the mound has led to some speculation that manager Buck Showalter’s decision to stay with the veteran after the delay could have played a part in the injury. However, both the skipper and Carrasco told reporters they believed the injury was a coincidence, noting that Carrasco had kept loose and was feeling fine until his last throw. (Braves manager Brian Snitker also stuck with his starter, Spencer Striderwho went on to throw five innings and 87 pitches).

Carrasco was an effective mid-rotation arm during his sophomore season in Queens, throwing to a 3.92 ERA with an above average strikeout count of 23.4% over 23 starts. He missed most of his freshman year as a Met with a torn right hamstring, but had avoided the IL so far in 2022. Carrasco was slated to start half a doubleheader against the Phillies on Saturday, but the club is now looking probably turn to swingman Trevor Williams pair with sixth starter David Petersonwho is expected to be recalled from Triple-A Syracuse, as MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo wrote last night.

The Mets have a 4 1/2 lead over Atlanta in the NL East. The division winner will almost certainly get the newly established first-round bye in the Wild Card round, with a huge margin between the leaders in NL East and NL Central. A starting five of Jacob de Grom, Max Scherzer, Chris Bassitt, Taijuan Walker and Peterson is still an excellent group, but there is no doubt that the club would feel better with Carrasco in their lap as well. It looks like they will welcome Carrasco in some capacity before the postseason kicks off, but it remains to be seen to what extent he will be able to rebuild his arm strength after being fired. He may be more limited to relief or shortened starting work en route to the playoffs.

The injury also has important contractual consequences for Carrasco. The Mets have a $14MM option on his services for 2023. That provision would become unconditional (guaranteed) if he throws 170 innings this season and closes the year on a healthy note. Carrasco has racked up 126 1/3 frames so far, keeping him 43 2/3 innings below the threshold. There’s no chance for him to work that much in the final three weeks of the season, so the injury eliminates any possibility of Carrasco hitting the fortress trigger.

Of course, the Mets might find a price of $14MM reasonable enough to exercise Carrasco’s option anyway. He was a valuable member of a team that could lose deGrom, Bassitt, Walker and Williams to free agency. New York will need to keep or add a lot of starting pitchers this winter, and just keeping Carrasco around can be valuable. At the same time, they already have an estimated $194 million in guaranteed commitments for the 2023 books and are facing a massive free agent class that is also Brandon Nimmo and Edwin Diaz. Even with a salary that is arguably the highest in the majors (and could tip well over $300 million), they’re likely to lose a few key contributors to this year’s club.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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