Any chance of Brett Baty supplying a storybook moment in the heat of a September pennant race likely just went out the window.
The Mets announced on Wednesday that Baty has a tear in the UCL of his right thumb. He will have surgery on Thursday to repair it. According to the Mets, typical recovery for an injury of this nature is five weeks.
The highly-touted third base prospect hurt the thumb while diving for a ball on Aug. 28 against the Rockies.
“It was a backhanded play where his thumb got down in the grass,” Buck Showalter said before Wednesday’s game. “It was actually a foul ball that he dove for and it bent back.”
Baty, who made his MLB debut on Aug. 17, went 7-for-38 (.184) in his first taste of the big leagues. In 394 plate appearances at Double-A this season, he slashed .312/.406/.544 with 19 home runs. His initial call-up was due to Eduardo Escobar’s oblique injury, which has since healed. As Luis Guillorme makes his way back from his own injury, the need for Baty to be on the active roster was going to decrease anyway, but the injury still comes at a tough time for a 22-year-old just learning the ins and outs of the big leagues.
“Talking to the doctors and getting our arms around it finally, there is a possibility that he will make it back,” Showalter said after Wednesday’s game. “The return on this is at a pretty high rate. I don’t want to get in a lot of medical stuff but over the years with this injury, we have a pretty good success rate. We also think there’s an outside possibility he could return this season.”
In his first at-bat as a big leaguer, Baty hit a home run in Atlanta. He collected a hit in each of his first three MLB games before falling into an 0-for-14 hole. The fact that Baty remained on the active roster once Escobar returned on Aug. 27 meant the Mets may have seen him as a piece of their team for the rest of the season (especially with rosters expanding on Sept. 1), but they won’t get a chance to test that out now.
To replace him on the active roster, the Mets called up outfielder Terrance Gore from Triple-A Syracuse.